Answered on Feb 07th, 2013 at 4:29 PM
Concerning inventions, whether you plan to speak to a VC or a potential customer or even your third cousin on your mother?s side, it is always best practice to get some sort of patent application on file prior to making any disclosure outside your company or a non-disclosure/secrecy agreement. Specifically with respect to VC's, disclosure to a VC is a publication of the invention like any other. So if you don?t have anything on file, you will trigger the US statute of limitations of one year could blow your international patent rights. Whether you should file a provisional or a non-provisional application before meeting with a VC is a question of resources and timing. Generally speaking, we strongly prefer non-provisional applications simply because you can only claim what is contained in a provisional when you convert it into a non-provisional, so if you are not careful and complete, you may miss something important. We reserve provisional filings for specific, strategic purposes only. With respect to the time and expense of obtaining a patent, one should always view that as an investment in the creation of value in and around your business enterprise. It is not cheap nor should it be. But it doesn't have to break the bank either. And the US Patent Office is getting more and more efficient. Bottom line get something on file before you speak with a VC.