The Advantages and Disadvantages of a Provisional Patent

Provisional patents are an ideal solution for inventors who wish to establish their priority and then move into production and marketing. They cost less than non-provisional patents and can be filed much more quickly.

However, it’s essential to remember that a provisional application does not guarantee protection in the future. You must file a non-provisional application within 12 months of filing your provisional one or else risk losing your patent rights.


The cost of a provisional patent fee varies based on several factors, such as the invention and which company you work with. On average, however, this process typically costs around $2,000 to $17,000.

Filing for a provisional patent on your own can be costly, depending on how much time you invest into researching and writing about your invention. Alternatively, you could hire a patent attorney to prepare the application.

Provisional patent applications are an economical and fast way to gain protection for your invention for one year. They do not go through the USPTO, but it serves as a great test market to gauge interest in what you have created and determine if investing in full patent protection is worthwhile.

You must pay a filing fee to the USPTO for a provisional patent, which costs $65 for micro-entities and $130 for small entities. Furthermore, there are additional charges associated with each independent claim in your application that exceeds three claims.

Before drafting your patent application, it’s wise to consult an experienced patent lawyer for guidance. Doing so can guarantee that all information in the application is filled out accurately and significantly increases its chances of being granted a patent.

A patent attorney can advise you on the appropriateness of filing either a provisional patent or non-provisional application. They will explain the advantages and drawbacks of each option, as well as assist in selecting the most advantageous solution for your business.

Hiring a patent attorney may seem expensive, but it’s definitely worth the money in the end. Doing so could save you time and money in the future if your patent is ever denied or you need to fight for your rights in court.

The cost of a provisional patent will depend on which attorney you select, but it offers an economical and efficient way to secure your invention for one year while testing the market. Furthermore, this can be an ideal starting point when launching your company and figuring out its best strategy.


Filing for a provisional patent fee offers inventors several advantages, such as product protection and reduced costs. Furthermore, they gain the benefit of having a priority date which could attract investors or other partners.

Additionally, inventors who file a provisional patent application can convert it to a full patent within 12 months of filing date. This provides them with additional time to assess if their invention has the potential for commercial success and profitability.

Another advantage for inventors is the ability to utilize “patent pending” when describing their invention, increasing its value in the eyes of potential investors and partners. This can be especially advantageous for medical devices which typically become more valuable at the end of their usefulness.

Many inventors who are considering filing a provisional patent application do so before pursuing full protection. Doing so allows them to ensure their idea is ready for filing and protection before investing any money into it.

Filing a provisional application costs between $65-$280, depending on the size of your business. These fees are less than half what would apply if you filed non-provisional applications, making provisional applications an attractive choice for inventors who want to save money and keep patent filing expenses down.

Filing a provisional application has some drawbacks, such as not publishing and not being accessible online like regular non-provisional applications. This may present an issue for entrepreneurs who wish to make their patent details public quickly. Nonetheless, filing a provisional application won’t affect your priority date – which is when you first filed your patent application – which ultimately determines the length of your patent.


Provisional patent fees are one of many options inventors have to protect their ideas and begin the process of getting a patent. Typically, this option is chosen by those who aren’t quite ready to file for full patent protection or who have limited funds and need to move forward quickly with the process.

It can also be advantageous for those wishing to understand how an invention functions or what applications it may have before investing time and money into the patent application process. Nonetheless, remember that this does not guarantee success or protection; you should still consult with a legal professional prior to filing for a patent.

Provisional patents differ from non-provisional applications in that they are submitted directly to the USPTO for inspection and assessment, instead of being reviewed by a patent examiner. Instead, this document is submitted directly to the USPTO and, if accepted, the priority date will be granted.

Provisional applications are a temporary way to safeguard your idea until you file for a utility patent. They give you up to one year to work on your invention or market research, with the added bonus of having “patent pending” status noted on all materials associated with your product or process.

In addition to paying the fee, you must also fill out the forms listed below. The cover sheet (form SB-16) is an integral component of the application and provides information regarding the inventors, title of their invention and mailing address for correspondence.

The claims section of your application is essential, outlining the exact features or elements that make your invention patentable. If these claims are inadequate or unclear, the USPTO will reject your application and you won’t be granted a patent for it.

Finally, your application must include drawings if they are necessary for understanding your innovation. Failure to include drawings may result in the patent office rejecting your application.

According to 35 U.S.C. 111(b), payment of a provisional patent fee is mandatory and undiscounted at $280; however, small entities qualify for reduced fees of only $140.


If you’re searching for a way to save money on your initial patent application, a provisional patent application may be the ideal choice. However, be aware of potential drawbacks associated with this type of application as well.

Filing for a provisional patent can be expensive in time. In most cases, it will delay the examination process by up to one year, giving you extra time for licensing your inventions, raising capital on the stock market, borrowing against your patents or asserting your rights. This extra year could be wasted on non-productive activities like selling on eBay or raising money through stock market investments.

Furthermore, a provisional patent can be used to evaluate an invention and assess its commercial viability before fully investing in the patent process. This is especially helpful for inventors who have not yet identified a market for their creation, or those considering selling the invention but worried about losing the value of their patent.

Another benefit of filing for a provisional is that it can grant additional priority rights to your patent, particularly in the United States. By filing a non-provisional application that claims the priority of your provisional, you can extend your patent term up to 12 months.

Additionally, a non-provisional application that references a provisional patent can be used to obtain an international patent. This is especially beneficial if your invention is intended for use or marketing abroad.

One disadvantage of this option is that your non-provisional patent term will be determined by when you filed your provisional. So if you file a non-provisional claiming the priority of your provisional, then your patent would expire in 2040 instead of 2020.

If you are considering applying for a patent in the United States, be aware of a pilot program being tested by the USPTO called deferred-fee provisional patent application. This program will run for 12 months starting September 17, 2020 and offer reduced fees on certain patent applications.

This pilot program is an opportunity for the USPTO to demonstrate its effectiveness with a new innovation tool. If it proves successful in encouraging technical communication and stimulating further innovation, they may extend or discontinue it.