Does a Provisional Patent protect my invention?

There are three benefits to patenting your invention:

  • Deterrence – this is simply done my marking your product “Patent Pending” or “Patented“;
  • Marketing – when customers see “Patent Pending” stamped on your product, they know it’s “new” and “innovative”; and
  • Protection – a provisional patent reserves your right to secure protection for your idea, but only a granted complete patent gives you the right to sue a copycat in Court for patent infringement.

Patent Pending globalipco

May I threaten anyone for infringement of my provisional patent?

No. Do not threaten anyone.

You can only enforce a granted complete patent. During the provisional patent phase, do not threaten a competitor with patent infringement, or demand that he stops making / selling knock‐offs. Just mark your product “patent pending” to express your intention to secure patent protection.

Grant of a complete patent may take a few years. For this reason, we suggest also obtaining Design Registrations, which takes only a few months to become granted and enforceable. Registered designs protect the “shape” of your product and should keep copycat products out of the market.

Patent Pending snz

What if someone copies my product during the Provisional Patent phase?

Accelerate filing of a complete patent.

Instead of making threats, immediately file a corresponding complete patent in the country / countries in which your competitor is making and/or selling knock‐offs (see a discussion regarding the Patent Process). After filing the complete patent, you can expect it to take between 21 and 36 months before you may sue for patent infringement (and, another year before you are assigned a Court date).

Patent Pending Ideanav

So, is my invention not protected during the Provisional Patent phase?

Few competitors will incur significant manufacturing setup and marketing costs if they know that you can (via your provisional patent) institute legal proceedings to interdict them from making / importing / advertising / selling the product in as little as 21 months’ time.

Because your provisional patent reserves your right to file complete patents worldwide for a period of 12 months, competitors will be hesitant to invest in manufacture and marketing of a knock‐off product anywhere in the world. They would rather knock‐off “lower hanging fruit”. The provisional patent number elevates your product above the “comfortable picking zone”.

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