What is the Cost of a Non-Provisional Patent?

Though the final non-provisional patent cost will vary case by case, some examples are:

  • Filing and preparation of a relatively simple application by a small firm (10 claims and a 10-page specification) = $8,548.00.
  • Relatively complex biotech/chem invention = $4,448.00
  • More complex biotech/chem invention = $15,398.00
  • More involved mechanical engineering invention = $11,482.00
  • Minimally-complex mechanical invention = $2,244.00

When a patent application is approved at the USPTO, an issue fee is charged to the applicant.
The fee (including the publication charge) is currently $2,070 for a larger company. Smaller companies get a discount and pay only $1,185.00.

Provisional vs. Non-Provisional

In the US, inventors can file for provisional patents. An application for a provisional patent must completely disclose the invention, just as a non-provisional patent would. Formalities are considerably reduced compared to the non-provisional, thus making it easier to prepare.

Think of it this way: the provisional route is a two-step path through the patent process. The non-provisional application route is a one-step process that takes longer than that first, provisional step by itself.

The first, smaller step in the provisional patent route: filing a provisional patent application. This needs to be supplemented by a non-provisional filing at some point for the patent to be “real.”

The two steps in the provisional patent process require more time than the single-step non-provisional request process overall. The provisional application is never put in a queue at the patent office for examination. Only non-provisional applications are examined in that way. But that one long process happens in both provisional and non-provisional patents.

Example: Betty’s lawyer files a non-provisional patent application on March 5th, 2013. The US Patent Office then queues the patent to be examined. Betty waits to hear back. Then, she waits some more.

Now let’s consider what happens when Betty files a provisional patent application first. Her provisional patent is issued quickly. That first-filed provisional patent is never examined; it’s merely recorded. The examination relevant to the non-provisional patent is put off until later.

In the meantime, Betty has a provisional patent that might provide her some security for her intellectual property.

The Two-Step Advantage

The two-step provisional route has two major advantages.

One advantage: Total patent costs are spread over a one- or two-year period. This is good for cash-limited new small businesses.

The other advantage: Some inventions require disclosure before they’re ready for release. The reasons could be to secure more capital or to convince potential customers. A provisional patent is one way to secure the intellectual property rights so the invention can be publicized for business purposes.

A provisional patent is quick, simple, informal, and loose. Its non-provisional counterpart is the opposite: demanding, involved, formal, and very strict.

The application for a non-provisional patent is long. It contains many different sections and each section contains its own many and varied rules.

Steps and Fees

Here’s a rough overview of the forms and fees involved with the non-provisional patent application process.

  • The Application Transmittal form – essentially a cover sheet for your application – must be completed.
  • The Fee Transmittal form shows calculations of applicable fees.
  • The Declaration for Utility or Design Patent application form requires your name and contact info; names and vital info on each inventor; information on any foreign patents; and a declaration you are the first inventor(s) to file for a patent.
  • The Application Data Sheet covers information on the invention.

Gather these forms and submit to the patent office using the EFS-Web system. Remember to pay the application filing fee (a few hundred dollars). Stay tuned for any correspondence received from the patent office, and respond accordingly.

When your patent has been approved, be ready to pay the patent issuance fee. This can also run into hundreds of dollars.

Typical patent applications involve three different types of fees:

  1. Attorney fees
  2. Patent Office filing fees
  3. Drawing fees

Of the three, the most significant expense is the attorney fees.

Help When You Need It

Inventors should do their own patent search first. It makes little sense to engage the services of an attorney or researcher for this legwork. As the invention comes closer to fruition, and confidence in its patent-ability increases, a professional searcher working with a patent attorney can help confirm the uniqueness of the invention.

When it comes down to engaging the expensive and expansive non-provisional patent process, a search and analysis by a patent attorney is money well-spent. It will prevent challenges from arising later.

If you need help filing a non-provisional patent, you can post your legal need on UpCounsel’s marketplace. 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, Stripe, and Twilio.