Hello NYinNC - I`m not an attorney - seek legal counsel. It will be the best $ you ever spend. My personal experience has been this: I went to see a patent/trademark attorney and showed him my idea - he did a patent search - he recommended that I file a provisional patent to reserve the date which then gave me 1 year from the filing date to research the area to which the product relates and to include these changes when I filed the utility patent application. That is exactly what I did and am very glad I followed his advice. I had 1 year to research the market and found alot more uses for my invention and then added them to my patent application. Good Luck !