I'm working in a startup with a limited amount of investment. We'd like to file for a US provisional patent. My understanding is that after 12 months, I can upgrade to a PCT application.
For this specific invention, I believe that most of my market is outside of the USA. That being said, I'd like to file in the USA first because we're based in Canada, it's cheaper, it buys us 12 months, and it can be upgraded to a PCT later buying us even more time.
My question is: if I file a provisional patent application in the USA, what's stopping someone from scooping it up and going international before I'm able to file a PCT? If so, in the first 12 months should I avoid doing international business? Or, should I skip the US patent altogether, knowing our market is international?