Patent protection comes in many forms and choosing which form your business needs can save you money and time down the road. We can help you decide which type of protection you need. Whatever you do, make sure who you take advice from is registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).
A provisional patent application gives you patent-pending status and a priority filing date. It reserves your right to get patent protection in the future. It is not examined for patentability by the USPTO. This type of application can be a cost-effective stop-gap option and allows you a year to continue development before filing a non-provisional patent application.
A non-provisional patent application is the most commonly filed patent application. Unlike a provisional patent application, a non-provisional patent application gets examined for patentability by the USPTO and sometimes issues as a patent. This type of patent protects function as opposed to appearance. Once issued, a utility patent gives you 20 years of patent protection from the filing date. The drafting (writing) of the utility patent involves figures (drawings) and a detailed description of the invention and a claims section.
A design patent protects inventive ornamental features. This type of patent protects appearance as opposed to function. It is rarely the type of protection a small company needs.