Pete Tormey moderates at the San Francisco and Walnut Creek Bootstrapper Breakfasts. He is an entrepreneur who decided to go back to school and become an patent attorney. He offers Espen Sivertsen of MemeMaker some direct practical advice on how a bootstrapping entrepreneur should frame the decision of when to seek a provisional patent, a utility patent, and a trademark for his product. Some highlights:

When I look at patents for bootstrappers I usually ask the question how will you make money with it?

There is this myth out there that if you have a patent you are going to become a millionaire. Every now and again that happens but it’s pretty rare.

Initially spending money on marketing may be a better investment.

A provisional application can protect the idea and give you a year to determine if you can make a profit before you need to file a utility patent.