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Provisional Patents One route to entrepreneurship is by coming up with an invention However once the idea for a product or technology has been created it must be protected so the owner can maintain the exclusive rights to manufacture or license the invention This protection is usually obtained by obtaining a patent A formal patent application can cost up to 7500 in patent attorney fees and be a time consuming process Also obtaining a patent does not guarantee that the invention will be profitable An alternative solution is to apply for a provisional patent A provisional patent allows the inventor to claim patent pending status with significantly less work and at a fraction of the cost All that is required is a detailed description of the invention informal drawings a one-page cover sheet and the application fee of 75 For a starting entrepreneur with limited resources and capital the provisional patent can be a powerful tool Several benefits of the provisional patent related to the timing of the filing date The initial filing date can be established much quicker since the application process is not as complicated Also this date will not affect the expiration date of the official patent It will remain twenty years after the date of the patent application However the provisional patent is valid for only one year Once provisional status is established the entrepreneur is able to conduct a thorough analysis on the marketability and feasibility of the invention The product can be shown to potential manufacturers or investors without having to worry about having their idea being stolen Within the timeframe of a year the entrepreneur should have obtained adequate information on how to proceed With the worst case scenario being little or no interest in the product the loss to the inventor is not very significant
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