Most engineers and scientists believe that everything they are doing is obvious. This could not be further from the truth. If an engineer or scientist believes that something they are working on is “just cool,” then it should be investigated for patentability.
The use of the “Wow, That’s Cool” methodology has been very effective in discovering new innovations and supporting inventors in capturing IP to which they may be entitled.
Provisional patents are priority placeholders, existing for one year before expiring. They do not require claims and they cannot mature into a patent.
However, provisional patents do permit an inventor to place “patent pending” on their invention for marketing purposes, they may be used as priority documents for later patent filings, and they typically, cost less to prepare and file.
Provisional patents can form an important strategic building block in the construction of a patent portfolio.
Non-Provisional patents are what innovators generally reference when they talk about “getting a patent.” Officially, these are Utility patents that cover an invention that is useful, novel, and non-obvious. They have a full set of claims and once granted, have the force of law for the claimed invention.