1. LegalZoom Provisional Patent Cost
2. Provisional Patent Cost
3. Pros & Cons of Provisional Patents
4. Pros:
5. Cons:
6. Do-it-Yourself Patent Filings
7. Other Patent Types to Be Aware Of

LegalZoom Provisional Patent Cost

LegalZoom provisional patent cost includes the filing fees as well as fees to prepare the filing. The total cost depends on whether an inventor is filing the patent on their own, using an attorney to assist, or using another type of service to help with the filing.

Provisional Patent Cost

The cost of filing a patent is determined by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (or USPTO). The USPTO periodically changes the fees, but the current price to file a patent is always available on the USPTO website's Fee Schedule. Right now, it only costs a couple hundred dollars for most types and forms of patent applications, including provisional patents. The fees, however, are only a portion of the total cost of obtaining and maintaining a patent, which includes the costs of preparing and copying materials, attorney costs, and costs of defending the application or patent against challenges.

It's not uncommon for the USPTO to initially reject applications, requiring the applicant to hire an attorney to negotiate on their behalf. The attorney must prepare specific, non-form responses to each correspondence from the USPTO, which takes time and can cost thousands of dollars.

A good patent lawyer will usually manage a large team of specialists including:

  • Technicians with relevant field expertise
  • Illustrators to draft graphic trademark elements
  • Paraprofessionals responsible for handling the administrative duties associated with filing a patent

All of these elements will ultimately factor into the final cost of services.

There are non-attorney services, like LegalZoom, that can help you with your patent applications. The basic LegalZoom provisional patent cost is currently $199 plus the USPTO filing fees. It includes review by a non-attorney for typographical errors but will not provide the detailed review and analysis that a patent attorney would. LegalZoom, like many other non-attorney services, also includes a lot of disclaimers regarding what they will not do for you and no assurances about the outcome.

LegalZoom's website does claim that your order will be reviewed by one of their in-house professionals before you submit your order, but it's worth noting that these professionals are not necessarily patent attorneys. They typically review your questionnaire by checking for:

  • Completeness
  • Consistency
  • Spelling or grammar errors

All of this is to say that there does seem to be some review of how you filled in the blanks. Again, however, as this information is not being reviewed by a legal professional, you're not likely to get the same kind of service you'd expect to receive from a patent attorney.

It's important to understand that fees associated with utility patents are not determined by the USPTO. Rather, these costs accrue in the form of fees charged by an attorney to prepare your patent application on your behalf. A utility patent application can cost somewhere in the range of several thousand dollars. Patent attorneys will normally possess a technical degree on top of their formal legal education, which is a large determining factor in the potentially high cost of hiring one.

Keep in mind that you get what you pay for, so it may be well worth the money to invest in their services. Just be careful to do your research and avoid being overcharged.

Pros & Cons of Provisional Patents

Provisional patents offer inventors the opportunity to initially file a slightly easier application with fewer formalities. Filers then have a year to convert their application to a full patent application. Provisional patent applications are not right for everyone. There are both pros and cons to provisional patents.

Pros:

  • Shorter application with fewer formalities
  • Reserves early “priority date,” the date from which you will usually receive protection for your patent
  • The application is less expensive
  • Services offer low-cost assistance

Cons:

  • A non-provisional application must be filed within a year of the provisional patent
  • If a non-provisional application is not filed on time, it will render your provisional patent filing meaningless
  • Many of the same elements of the full application are required
  • In some cases, filing will take almost as much effort as a full non-provisional patent application
  • The cost advertised by companies usually only covers filing the provisional patent, not the conversion of the patent to a full application

Many companies advertise very low-cost patent filing services, but this usually just covers filing of a provisional patent.

Do-it-Yourself Patent Filings

Once you've decided on the correct form of patent, the next question becomes whether to pay someone to assist with your filing, which as noted above, adds to the cost, or whether to decide do it yourself. Under patent laws, you are allowed to file a provisional patent application yourself. The following are some tips if you are filing your provisional patent on your own:

  • *Start with a Patent Search.* Before starting on your patent application, conduct a patent search to ensure that your idea is not already patented or otherwise protected. You can use Google, scholarly search engines, and social media to see what other companies and individuals in your field have patented or are working on.
  • *Draft Your Application.* After you have conducted your patent search, the next step is to begin completing your patent application. Rather than re-inventing the wheel, start by finding a patent for a similar invention, or at least from a similar field. Use that patent application as a template for your own application.
  • *Include Detailed Drawings and Specifications.* When drafting your patent application and accompanying materials, be sure to be thorough and detailed. A common mistake with provisional patents is to submit weak provisional patent application materials believing that they can be added to, or corrected later. This is not true! You are not allowed to add new material when converting your provisional patent application to a non-provisional application.

It may also be right for you to create your own patent application, though this will take a little work. Some of the steps involved in doing so would include:

  • Finding and reviewing a patent for something similar or related to your own invention, and using this as a template for your patent.
  • Creating your own design drawings.
  • Coining the descriptive phrases that let others know how the unique or innovative elements of your invention will work.
  • Drafting your own claims.
  • Bringing these documents along with you when you meet with your patent attorney.

You should be aware that when you make information regarding your invention available to the public in any way, according to 35 U.S.C. 102(b), you're starting the statutory clock for the invention in question. Simply put, this means you have exactly one year from the date that you made this information available to submit a patent application. Provisional patent applications offer a way to pause the timer and secure another 12 months from the date you file to convert the application to a non-provisional patent application.

Keep in mind, you're not able to add any material to your non-provisional patent application that wasn't previously included in the provisional application. You're able to flesh out ideas and concepts, possibly add detailed information that your provisional application implied but didn't explicitly state, and so on. You won't, however, be able to add anything completely new to the non-provisional application.

With that in mind, you'll want to avoid the temptation to write a simple, one-page application and submit it. You may think you've covered all the bases, but unless that single-page provisional application entails a detailed description of the invention in question, along with appropriately detailed design drawings, your application will likely be rejected by the USPTO.

Even though you can file a provisional patent on your own, it takes a lot of work to do correctly and will increase the risk of mistakes. Be sure to ask yourself whether the financial savings are worth your time and the risk of rejection based on a beginner's mistake.

Other Patent Types to Be Aware Of

A utility patent offers protection for specific items like:

  • Machines
  • Systems
  • Methods

Utility patents often require a rather complex application and legal process to acquire. If you don't know for sure that you need a utility patent, you may want to consider other patent types instead.

Design patents are used when you need to protect things like the way your invention looks. These are common when attempting to protect concepts such as:

  • Fashion items
  • The specific design of a manufactured good
  • The shape and size of a medical device
  • The layout and appearance of a user interface

It's important to understand that a design patent is only able to protect the look and feel of an invention and not the invention itself. If you were to invent an improvement for an existing tool, for example, that includes a handle that's bent to a specific angle to improve the ergonomic design, the invention in question could be eligible for two different kinds of patents. The utility patent could describe the potentially useful angle of the handle in terms of ergonomics while the design patent would describe the specific way that the angle would look.

If you need help with deciding what form of patent is right for you and how to increase the likelihood of approval of your application, post your legal need on UpCounsel's marketplace today. UpCounsel accepts only the top 5 percent of lawyers to its site. Lawyers on UpCounsel come from law schools such as Harvard Law and Yale Law and average 14 years of legal experience, including work with or on behalf of companies like Google, Menlo Ventures, and Airbnb.