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I have a limited budget and I am looking form a startup based on my idea. My idea is related to mobile (Android, iOS, etc) apps and a supporting website. It is a broad idea which can be implemented as several different features of my product. Do I have to file for separate provisional patents or can it all be described in just 1 application?

Example - Lets say Mark zuckerberg (Facebook) has the idea of "people communicating with other people in their networks online" . Can he file a single patent which describes 1) Posting on wall 2) Sending private message 3) Voice call 4) Video call 5) Chat

This is probably a bad example but I hope I got my point across. Thanks in advance!

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

It sounds like all these ideas are very related and it would be normal to cover them in a single application.

However, in theory, you could put a door stop and a database and a rocket in one provisional application. It would be odd but would save you a little bit of money. There is no requirement for a 1:1 correspondence between provisional and regular non-provisional applications. Multiple non-provisionals can get the benefit of a single provisional and one non-provisional can get the benefit of multiple provisionals.

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Thank you, this helps – Ayrton Senna Feb 16 '13 at 18:12

Yes. I like to include as much as possible. You can take matter out when filing an original, but not add or claim matter which was not disclosed and described consistent with sec 112 in the original application claiming priority to the provisional.

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