Good point. I had forgotten about the PPA (Provisional Patent Application). Using the forms on the USPTO site, I filed one myself as I continued to look for a good patent attorney. Total cost: $210. There's very little down-side to filing a PPA, except for the fact that the world gets to see your idea. HOWEVER, the filing of the PPA draws your legal line in the sand and establishes the date of your invention against all other claims - if, of course, your patent is granted. So VoteWord was officially out there in June of 2004 via a PPA, but the patent wasn't granted until this year.