We know that you as an inventor has a thousand things to do. You have to have many discussions with many different partners. But before you present your innovations publicly and advertise them, it is important to think about protecting your intellectual property. With a patent application, you are securing the “date of birth” of inventions. However, patent applications have to be properly prepared. That needs time and attention. All details have to be precisely described, and sometimes drawings have to be prepared also. Ultimately, a patent has to be properly drawn up if it is to have any validity. This may present you with a dilemma. You know what you have invented, and perhaps you also have some sketches. But you do not yet have any finished drawings or completed documentation. Maybe you also do not yet know precisely what characteristics you want to have protected. To enable you – in spite of this – to talk about your invention and pitch it to potential customers, and to seek investors, the Austrian Patent Office now offers an addition possibility: the PRIO-application, a provisional patent application.
Even if the description of your invention has not yet been completed, you can still register it. With a PRIO-application you are ensuring (as with a normal patent application) the “date of birth” of your innovation – worldwide, for a period of 1 year. You now have up to one year to consider whether you want to turn this into a normal patent application. You decide how you want to use PRIO-application – depending on whether the market opportunities are right and whether your search for investors has been successful. You can upgrade the PRIO-application to a normal patent application at any time, or you can decide no longer to pursue patent protection for this solution. We support you during this twelve month period, providing you with advice, reminders about deadlines, and further information.
The subsequent formulation of the documents must not go beyond the original description. New parts, new technical aspects or any new interaction which were not previously present may not be added at this stage. For this you would have to start a new application, for which you would be given a new priority date. Business methods, software per se and mere ideas cannot be protected by patent! If it becomes evident that a patent is not the right form of protection, alternatives can be considered in the form of brand protection or design protection.
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