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I've thought of a couple different but nearly equally efficient ways to manufacture a new tool. Should I be covering both in a provisional patent application? Is that even possible?

What if the different methods result in different components in the finished product (but the function remains the same)?

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You can cover whatever you like in a provsional application. When it comes time to write and file non-provisonal applications there is no requirement for a 1:1 corespondence. Three non-provisionals can all get the benefit of the same provisonal and a non-provisional application can get the benefit of multiple provisionals.

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