Provisional Patent Application Fee

A provisional patent application fee is a cost incurred by any business owner or inventor who wishes to have his or her product patented in the United States. One of the most common questions independent inventors have is how much it will cost to secure a utility patent, specifically what the application fee will cost them. Unfortunately, the only real answer to this question is that it depends on a variety of factors. It is also useful to know that when it comes to patent applications, the saying “you get what you pay for” rings especially true.

22 Things You Should Know About the Application Process

There are several aspects that influence the cost of a patent application:

  1. The invention itself (the type of invention it is and how complex it is).
  2. Anyone planning to obtain a patent must first file a non-provisional patent application.
  3. Small entities (which make up the majority of small businesses and individual inventors) should expect government filing fees of at least $730.
  4. Micro entities will pay a minimum of $400 in filing fees.
  5. The prices above are simply estimates. When you total filing fees with attorney fees (if you decide to hire legal assistance), your total patent application costs could exceed $15,000.
  6. What you plan to do with your patent will also influence the cost of your patent application costs.
  7. If you want to secure a more powerful patent, you need to provide additional claims and a more technical disclosure. Within this disclosure, it is important that you provide specific details on the variations, alternatives, and different embodiments of the invention.
  8. If you are only seeking to patent intellectual property, it would be in your best interest to set up a budget for multiple applications. This allows you to set up a firmer foundation with broader, strong patent protection. And a stronger patent protection is needed to increase your chances of securing funding from investors.
  9. For businesses in the software and biotechnology sector, it is quite common for business owners to pay as much as two times more than the estimated prices mentioned above when it comes to patent application fees.
  10. Anyone wishing to secure a patent for an invention should seriously consider investing in a patent search. Doing this will allow you to confirm that pursuing a patent is the right direction to take.
  11. Conducting a patent search also helps business owners and independent inventors write better patent applications.
  12. If you plan to obtain an attorney’s written opinion and use professional patent research services, you can expect to pay anywhere from $1,000 to $3,000. The exact cost will depend largely on the intricacy of your invention, how much written analysis you want to garner, and how much art was found that already exists.
  13. It’s not an exaggeration to say that investing in a professional patent search and a patent attorney’s written opinion is one of the best things you could do during your patent application process.
  14. If you want to further minimize your patent perusal expenses, start the process by first filing a provisional patent application.
  15. Similarly to a non-provisional patent application, you will need to include as many details about your invention as possible, yet a provisional patent application does not require the same number of formalities (and therefore the application costs significantly less).
  16. If you hire an attorney to assist you with the provisional patent application, you can expect to pay $2,000 or more for the attorney’s time.
  17. Small entities will pay a filing fee of $130 and drawings are usually priced at $100 to $125 per page.
  18. If you are patenting a mechanical or electrical product, your provisional patent application could cost as much as $3,000 to file. The reason the application fee costs so much more for these areas is because the software involved in the product contains exponentially more information than other types of products.
  19. A final thing to consider when trying to estimate the costs of your patent application fees is that other patents and published applicants that are similar to your invention will influence the exact price quote.

Here is a breakdown of what someone could expect to pay in total on their patent application fee:

  1. Patent search and written attorney opinion: $2,500-$3,000
  2. Preparation and filing for the provisional patent application: $6,000
  3. USPTO provisional patent application filing fee for small entity: $130
  4. Non-provisional patent application provisional filing: $10,000-$12,000
  5. USPTO non-provisional patent application filing fee for small entities: $800-$1,250
  6. Professional illustrations for non-provisional patent application: $500

Total: $19,930-$22,880

  1. After the filing process, there will be additional costs incurred once the Patent Examiner begins their work.
  2. Patenting an idea can be done one of two ways:

● You write and submit a patent application yourself. This is the most affordable option because it only costs roughly $900 to officially obtain an issued patent. The $900 is spent on USPTO fees and nothing else.

● Recruit the legal services of a patent attorney to write and file your patent application. This could total up to $10,000 and that amount usually covers the attorney’s hours of working on your behalf.

More on Patent Fees

Patent fees routinely change, so it is important that you check the current fee schedule set forth by The United States Patent & Trademark Office before filing your patent application. The latest fee schedule went into effect early 2017 and was revised on May 1, 2017.

There are three separate classifications that your patent application fees could fall under:

  1. Large entity
  2. Small entity
  3. Micro entity

If you fall under the small entity category, there are a few things to remember when considering the total cost of securing a patent:

  1. If you want to keep the patent’s exclusivity in place for the entire patent term, you can expect to incur maintenance fees. These maintenances fees are due 3.5, 7.5, and 11.5 years after first obtaining the patent.
  2. If the Patent Examiner determines that your patent application requires extra consideration, you can request for continued examination (RCE). The first RCE costs $600 and any RCE after that is an additional $850. Although you might not need an RCE, it is a good idea to budget for one when pulling together the total costs of your patent application.
  3. Every patent that is issued will have its own fees regarding filing, issuing, and maintenance.
  4. When you file a provisional patent application, it is a great way to begin the patent process, but that particular application will never become an issued patent itself.

Didn’t File for the Patent Until You are Ready

Inventors should consider taking advantage of two tremendous resources that will help them with their patent perusal process without going over budget. These resources are provisional patent applications (PPAs) and trademarks. Both of the tools are used widely by many independent inventors when they are working to secure things such as product names and logos.

A provisional patent application is particularly appealing for inventors working on a tight budget, because they are significantly less expensive than a full-blow utility patent application. However, it is important to remember that the provisional patent application will not secure you an official patent; it merely allows you to claim the “patent pending” status, a 12-month period in which you must decide whether or not you will pursue a patent.

This means that if you file a provisional patent application in January 1, 2017, you would have until January 1, 2018 to file a utility patent application.

For one full year, you have legal rights to the “patent pending” status on your invention. In that time, you can continue to make changes and modifications to your invention ad even create a prototype to show to people in the meantime.

A provisional patent application is appealing not only because it is less time-consuming and expensive than a traditional utility patent application, but also because you can file it on your own and avoid the fees incurred from legal assistance. With that said, there are benefits to recruiting the legal services of an expert (such as a patent agent or attorney) when filing your provisional patent application, especially for first time patent applicants.

When you are writing your provisional patent application, there are three primary factors that you should take into consideration:

  1. The applications must meet enablement requirements of 35 U.S.C. 112 regarding the written description. In this portion of your patent application, it is vital that you provide specific information on how the invention is to be used along with what components are within the invention (and how they all connect to one another).
  2. Your description should not have any sort of restrictive language in it. This would include such phrases as “necessary”, “must”, or “essential”.
  3. The terms that you use in your description should be very precise, but not limiting. The broader the application of the word, the better. An example of what this would mean is referring to a nail that is holding two wooden planks together as a “fastener” rather than a nail.

As mentioned above, the provisional patent application can be an incredible asset for novice patent applicants and first-time inventors. In addition to the PPA, both federal and state trademark registration systems are also great assets.

Why? Every product or idea needs a title. When you have a title, you have something a bit more substantive to demonstrate to potential licensees or customers. A name allows you to “brand” your invention a bit more and make it synonymous with your invention.

Do not coast over the process of picking out a name for your invention. Take your time with this step because the name you choose will last as long as your patented product does (and be largely influential in defining it). When you conduct your initial market research, as plenty of questions about the name to get insight on how your target audience reacts to it.

Anyone thinking about trademarking something for the first time should understand two basic things about trademark use:

  1. Trademark law was built upon the foundational principle that is first in use, first in right. Both merely using the trademark and filing a trademark application generally means that the trademark is in use. Upon determining what you are trademarking, you should also use ™ or ®. In the majority of states in the U.S., you can obtain trademark rights for free. All you have to do is add the trademark to the product. You can do this by adding the letters T and M in between two parentheses.
  2. You can register a trademark both out of the country and with the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

Overview of Cost to Patent an Idea

  1. Provisional Patent Application Filing Fee: $65 (applicable to the majority of inventors who fall under micro entity status)
  2. Non-Provisional Patent Application UPSTO Filing Fees: $400 (including filing fee and search fee)
  3. Patent Issue Fee: $450
  4. Maintenance Fee: $400 (due 3.5 years after a patent has been issued)
  5. Maintenance Fee: $900 (due 7.5 years after patent has been issued)
  6. Maintenance Fee: $1,850 (due 11.5 years after a patent has been issued)

Keep in mind that independent inventors and other types of patent applicants do not incur these fees all at one time. Each fee is due on separate occasions throughout the patent application process. The list does not include all expenses (such as attorney fees).

Need additional information related to provisional patent application fees? Don’t hesitate to 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.