Q: I have a patent pending on an apron that expires 4/11. Not sure if I even need a non prov. Any way to find out?
The apron is unique insofar as it has elements that have not been done before. It is a multi use item that can too easily be copied - unless that means it's too simple to warrant a patent. That is what I need to know before investing thousands of dollars. Help!
OK -- you have a provisional application that will expire April 11, 2019.
It is expensive to pursue a non-provisional application from filing to issue. If you wrote the provisional application yourself, the patent attorney may have to start from near scratch to draft a real patent application with claims.
I suggest that you do some patent searching. This will help in two ways. Once you have read a number of patents that made it through the system, you will see what level of complexity is required to get a patent given all the different aprons and other protective gear that has been developed over time.
You may see a number of patent applications that were published but were abandoned and that will give you an idea of what is not going to be enough to make it through.
You may see that some patent applications or patents addressed some of the ideas that you have in your apron. That means that it will be pretty difficult to get a patent as the Examiner will combine bits and pieces from different pieces of prior art to say that your combination of features is obvious. http://bit.ly/Patent_Searching
You may want to connect to https://www2.illinois.gov/dceo/SmallBizAssistance/BeginHere/Pages/SBDC.aspx to get some free advice from folks that are paid to help businesses bloom and grow (so they can tax you on the back end). The North Carolina version of this organization points inventors to me to help them sort this type of question. Ideally the Illinois folks are plugged in to local patent attorneys. While you can pick a patent attorney from anywhere in the country, you may want to deal with someone local.
If you found this answer helpful, you may want to look at my answers to other questions about patent law are available at the bottom of my profile page at
Kevin E Flynn
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