File a Provisional Patent Yourself

If you have an innovative idea but lack the funds to develop it, filing for a provisional patent is your ideal solution. This will protect your idea for 12 months while you further develop and secure financing.

For your provisional patent application to be successful, it must clearly and comprehensively describe your invention. Make sure anyone skilled in your field can reproduce it using only a written description.


Inventors looking to save money can file a provisional patent themselves instead of hiring an attorney. On average, filing for a provisional patent costs around 80 percent less than non-provisional applications. Nevertheless, preparing and filing such an application yourself can be complex; thus, consulting with a knowledgeable patent attorney before making your decision is highly recommended.

Many inventors opt to file for a provisional patent in order to safeguard their ideas before filing a more formal patent application. Doing this can help shield you against competitors stealing your invention.

Provisional patents can also delay the need for costly patent examination and filing fees, providing some peace of mind. They’re especially beneficial to inventors who are uncertain about their invention’s viability and would prefer to wait until they have more information on the topic.

The cost to file for a provisional patent varies based on the invention, its complexity and how many claims will be filed. A simple invention such as a paper clip or coat hanger may range from $5,000 to $7,000.

For more complex inventions, such as software-related products, the costs can be much higher. A standard utility patent application typically costs between $50 and $700 plus search and examination fees.

One of the major expenses when filing for a US patent is the examination fee. This fee covers the examiner’s time to conduct searches on three independent claims and 20 total claims, with any additional claims filed after that being considered “excess claims” at an additional $400 each.

Professional drawings for your patent application can significantly raise its cost, as these typically require an investment of $50-$100 each.

Another significant expense is long-term maintenance and payment of the patent issue fee. These payments must be made at 4, 8, and 12 years after your patent was granted.

The cost of obtaining a patent can be quite steep, particularly if you require legal counsel to prepare and file your application. Fees may range anywhere from $15,000 to over $15,000 depending on the complexity of your invention and whether an attorney is necessary to represent you before an examiner at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).


The amount of time it takes to file a provisional patent depends on the specifics of your invention. You may need to do some preliminary research and create an outline for your provisional patent application, or you may already possess all required information.

Ideally, you should file for a provisional patent as soon as possible after gathering all required information. Doing so allows you to gain priority date before the USPTO begins formal review of your patent application.

Under the current first-to-file legal regime, filing a patent early is particularly crucial. Doing so increases your chances of having your idea preserved and maintaining ownership over it.

However, you should also be aware that filing a provisional application could delay your ability to secure funding for an actual utility patent – this could prove disastrous to your business.

Additionally, be wary of internet claims that you can file a provisional application for only several hundred dollars. These claims often do not refer to the official non-provisional application and could be misleading.

A provisional patent application is a legal document that sets a filing date for your invention and provides you with 12 months of pending protection. This can be invaluable if you want to experiment and refine the design before filing for full patent protection.

File a provisional patent application as soon as possible during the development process of your invention, and attempt to incorporate as many different versions as possible. Doing this allows for an expansive base of patent claims as you continue working on it and make changes to its design and function.

It is wise to ensure all parties involved in developing your invention are correctly credited as inventors. You can accomplish this by including all individuals who contributed to any new features of the creation in a provisional patent application.


Filing for a provisional patent can be done independently, but you need experience and the know-how. If this is your first time filing an application, it may be best to hire a professional for assistance. This way, you’ll know for sure that your invention will receive protection under the law.

Take time to research your invention thoroughly and become well-versed in its technology. Doing this will enable you to describe your invention accurately and comprehensively.

Finally, when filing a provisional patent application, ensure to include drawings and diagrams to help explain your invention’s workings. This is especially critical during the prosecution phase since these types of illustrations can assist the patent examiner with their assessment.

Your drawings and diagrams for your application must be precise, organized, and concisely written. Additionally, using high-quality pen & ink or computer drawing programs will guarantee that your drawings are of the highest possible standard.

Finally, it is wise to have your invention tested by an experienced engineer. Doing this will give you insight into whether or not the plan is feasible in the long run.

Once you have determined that your invention is eligible for a patent, it’s time to move forward and file your application. This requires further research on the invention as well as professional patent illustrations.

Additionally, you must raise the money to cover all patent prosecution costs. While this can seem like a daunting task for anyone, it is essential that your invention be patented as quickly as possible.

Provisional patents are an ideal solution for inventors with valuable ideas they want to protect. With this type of application, your concept will remain protected up to 12 months, giving you ample time to conduct market testing and determine if your invention will be a commercial success.

This process can be completed online through the USPTO’s EFS-Web system. To start, fill out form SB-16 with information on your inventors and invention title. Be sure to include your mailing address along with a disclosure statement and signature in this form as well.


To file for a provisional patent yourself, there are several requirements that must be fulfilled. You must fill out the USPTO’s provisional application cover sheet and disclose your invention in full detail, followed by writing an explanation of your invention with drawings or diagrams as needed.

Your written description of your invention should serve as the basis for filing a non-provisional patent application later on. It should be sufficiently detailed so that someone with ordinary skill in your field could make and use it based on this description, while also making it obvious to those unfamiliar with your invention that you are the inventor.

On the USPTO’s website, you can find guidance on what needs to be included in a written description of your invention. However, it’s wise to have an experienced lawyer review your document before submission – this will save you thousands in attorney fees and guarantee that everything is clearly explained.

Your written description should address the following topics:

Prior to applying for a patent, your invention must be original. If it has already been unpatented, the USPTO could reject your application.

Second, your invention must not be similar to any of the prior art. This requires that you can demonstrate that your invention is distinct from any of the prior works published, sold, or patented before you.

Third, your invention must be useful. While this isn’t a hard and fast rule to meet, endeavor to be as descriptive about your creation as possible.

Finally, you must have a firm grasp on the market potential for your invention. This is essential since you will need to conduct market tests and research before it can be legally patented.

If you need assistance filing a provisional patent, post your query on ContractsCounsel today and get connected with trademark lawyers who specialize in provisional patent applications. With an average of 14 years of legal expertise, these experienced lawyers will guide you through the process and answer all of your queries.