The basic idea behind any of the patent is generating money. The patent is obtained on a product to sell the exclusive rights to earn money out of it. Or, in case of big companies letís say not to let anybody else sell that product. It does not make much sense if an inventor wants to get a patent and doesn't want to sell it. After all, at least he should recover the cost of the expenses he made while trying to come up with something new.
But, again the question is whether the inventor is sure he would be able to 'sell' his invention. This is the point where the inventor stands on a cross road with a lot of question in his mind. Investing in a business or getting a patent makes sense only if more money is earned then spent. At this point of time when the invention has just come up the inventor is not sure that it would sell or not. He can do it by doing a market evaluation of the product. But, if he does his idea would become public and eventually he will not get a patent. If he goes to get a patent on it before doing the market evaluation there are chances that the money invested may go beyond what he actually earns.
So, what does he do?
He can file a provisional patent application which is much cheaper and 'buy' the time to check the market viability of his product. Filing a patent application gives an inventor an year time to make his calculations and take a decision that he should actually go for a Non-provisional Patent (which means, for a layman getting the 'rights' on his product to sell it).
If you wish to go for a non provisional patent first then always make sure you have a reason to make you believe that you can actually sell it. What is recommended for you is to have a thorough patent search to see the likelihood of obtaining a patent on the invention and make sure you have a degree in marketing so that you recover what you have put in. We say this because here is where the things start getting up heavier financially and most of the time leave the inventors with a hole in their pocket.
Therefore, it makes a lot easier for you to get your idea protected before go on to the market to check the commercial viability of the invention you have. A provisional patent as such does not give you the exclusive rights on the product, what it gives you is the 'time' needed. Based on the personal experiences of a lot of inventor and patent attorneys this is one of the best options provided for the inventors if they is on a cross road. Filing a provisional patent application is much more economical way of starting the things. In this way if the product fails to make sense at some point of time you can actually pull your hand off and save a lot of money what you have planned to invest and cease the risk immediately.