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A granted patent gives its owner the right to prevent anyone else producing, importing or selling, within the geographical jurisdiction. In the US the main options for protection of a product or design are Utility or Design Patents.

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In simple terms, a Utility Patent protects the way an article is used and works, while a Design patent protects the way it looks. It is possible for an invention to qualify for both.

We conduct a free review to help establish which form of idea protection is right for you, so that you can avoid unnecessary patent costs.

Some people may choose to seek the services of a patent agent or attorney firm from day one but this is not likely to be the best course of action for an inventor new to the game. Patent firms cannot give you help with presentation, design, development, or prototyping, or provide commercial advice, so if your project is still at an early stage it’s likely to be a waste of their time and your money. There are two types of utility patent applications – Provisional and Non-provisional, both having pros and cons related to patent costs and timelines.


GOOD things about provisional applications: A provisional application gets you a filing date on which you can later rely, at relatively low cost, while you evaluate your invention and/or try to find out if there is a market for the product or the application. You can then proceed to a more refined formal application. However, it must be borne in mind that any material which is not in the provisional application will not be entitled to the provisional’s earlier filing date so the provisional should be as complete as you can make it.

Time: You can file a provisional application and delay the cost of filing a formal application whilst arranging for or finding financing. However, you must be sure to file an “enabling” disclosure, and not omit any information which will later be key to the formal application.
Does not start US 20 year patent term.

Some BAD points:

When trying to assess how much is a patent going to cost, keep in mind that with a provisional patent, the total cost may be higher than if you went ahead with a conventional application. At the end of your year period you’ll need to come up with not only the cost of the conventional US application, but also the cost of any foreign applications.
If the aim is to get patent protection as soon as possible, filing a provisional may only add delay.
An incomplete provisional application cannot be relied on to provide an earlier filing date. Although more than one provisional can always be filed in the 12 months from first filing.
If starting with a utility patent application, you have a year within which you could decide if you wanted to file for foreign patent protection, and in which countries. If you start with a provisional application, you’re going to have to file US and foreign applications at the same time.


There are three different types of patents available in the United States.

Utility Patent (most common for inventors)A utility patent makes exclusive claims over an invention for a period of time. We can help you with utility patent applications. There are two types of utility patent applications – provisional and non-provisional.

Design Patent Protects the overall appearance of an invention and is granted for any new, original and ornamental design for an article of manufacture. The term of a design patent is 14 years from the date of issuance. A design patent should only be chosen if the appearance of the invention is important. With respect to patent costs, unlike utility patents, design patents are not subject to maintenance/renewal fees. A design patent application is examined in the same way as a utility patent application.

Plant Patent A plant patent is granted by the Government to an inventor (or the inventor’s heirs or assigns) who has invented or discovered and asexually reproduced a distinct and new variety of plant, other than a tuber propagated plant or a plant found in an uncultivated state.

NB. We endeavour to keep your patent costs to a minimum to avoid you spending unnecessary funds until it is worth it. Although there are undoubtedly costs when developing or protecting an idea they needn’t be high at this early stage so don’t let the associated cost of patent applications or complications deter you from obtaining protection for your idea, because a granted patent could be incredibly lucrative in the long run. It is essential to complete as much work as possible before filing your patent to increase the chances of your patent being granted, and for what you want it to be granted.

The material in this website is commercially focused and generalized information and opinion about successfully working within the existing legal framework of Intellectual Property, patents and patent law; and should in no way be viewed or construed as legal advice. Advisors at Innovate are not and will not be lawyers unless this is specifically stated.