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QUESTION: Does a provisional patent protect my product from being stolen?
I have an idea for a very basic product. I’ve done a thorough search myself, and have not found any other patents. I don’t have the money to spend thousands for the real full patent. Will a provisional patent (I saw this costs under $200) protect my product idea? I need a company to do a rendering of my product as I have no artistic abilities, but will a provisional patent protect my product idea? I don’t want to have some company draw up my product for me and then steal the idea. I’m confused as to what protection really comes from a provisional patent. Is a PP the first step for any product invention ?

ANSWER: A provisional patent application provides limited “protection”. If someone steals your product idea, you cannot use a provisional application to sue for patent infringement. It does give you patent pending status which you can advertise as an indication of value of your product.