A patent is the single most important step for an inventor to take. While research, creation and production are all important steps in the life of an invention, the patent is needed to keep the invention safe and secure. Without a patent, any individual could steal an idea for a product. Patents provide a legal way for inventors to claim all of the rights that they need to own that specific idea. There are specific steps that an inventor must take to acquire a patent for their invention. These steps need to be followed as closely as possible; failure to complete these tasks correctly could provide loop-holes for those who want to steal ideas and patents. The first step for an inventor to take is to decide on the type of patent that will be filed. The utility patent is the most common form of patent. This patent is used for any actual good, machine or process that is created. This is also the patent that is used for any individual who improves on an existing patent. Other forms of patents include design patents and plant patents. When an inventor has decided on the patent that they will apply for, they need to file the proper paperwork. The files necessary for a patent can be found through the USPTO (United States Patent and Trademark Office). These files can be found online or through one of 80 USPTO libraries and offices nationwide. The inventor will then have to provide a provisional or non-provisional application. The non-provisional application is more intensive than the provisional application. The provisional simply requires a written statement of the product, whereas a non-provisional requires photographic evidence, drawings, and a written claim (description). It is important for all inventors to note that the non-provisional application is required to be provided within one year of the provisional application. The patent office will then go through the patent to check for uniqueness and authenticity. Correctly filed applications will then be given the patent for their idea. Companies and inventors should hire a professional to ensure that they apply for the patent completely and correctly. Provisional Patent Help?