What is a Provisional Application Filing Fee?

Provisional applications are the cheapest way to protect an invention, yet they often get filed by inventors in a rush. Unfortunately, this results in an application that fails to meet all the same requirements as non-provisional patent applications.

Ultimately, the cost of a provisional application depends on the complexity of your invention and can range anywhere from $2,000 to more than $17,000.


The cost of filing a patent application varies significantly based on the invention and its complexity. This is primarily due to the USPTO’s examination fees which can be quite steep, but also other fees involved in the patent process.

Fortunately, these expenses can be minimized by taking into account key elements that will determine your patent application’s final costs. Doing this ahead of time will enable you to plan more accurately and prevent unexpected expenses in the future.

One of the first costs to consider when filing for a patent is attorney’s fees. This amount varies based on the type of patent and which firm you hire.

These fees cover planning and drafting your application, communicating with the USPTO, and filing it. Typically, these costs range between $2000 to $3,000; however, the final amount may differ depending on the complexity of your invention and which firm you work with.

When budgeting for patent drawings, one factor to consider is cost. This will largely depend on the complexity of your invention and how many sheets are needed. Professional drawings can range in cost from $75 up to $125 per sheet.

Finally, a provisional application filing fee will be assessed. However, this fee only lasts 12 months so in order to secure protection for your invention, you must file for a full non-provisional patent within those two years.

However, this additional expense may be worth it if you can afford it. Filing a new application could save you the trouble in the future if there’s no market for your invention.

In addition to these fees, you will need to pay additional costs for responding to a patent examiner’s rejections or objections. These costs vary but could range anywhere from $3,500 to $4,500.

If your patent is particularly complex, consulting with a lawyer early on in the process can be beneficial. Not only will this save you money in the long run, but it makes the procedure much smoother.


Provisional applications are an ideal way to test out ideas before investing in a non-provisional patent application. However, the cost of filing one can add up quickly if you haven’t planned ahead.

Aside from the time it takes to draft and submit a provisional application, there are other costs involved. For instance, for an effective provisional patent application, you will need to retain legal counsel to review all claims and other details associated with your invention.

For instance, a highly-rated lawyer typically charges between $200 and $400 an hour, translating to anywhere from $5,000 to $10,000 in attorney fees before you receive your patent.

Similarly, the cost of patent search and examination will accumulate over time. Ultimately, the total cost will depend on what type of application you submit, where you live, and your desired level of protection.

Finding out how much a good patent application will cost requires research and asking the right questions. With an accurate estimation of costs, you can make informed decisions about where to proceed. But most importantly, understand your individual needs and objectives during this stage.

Prior art

Prior art refers to all information that predates your patent application, such as patents and publications. This could include foreign and domestic patent documents, non-patent literature and public disclosures.

Prior arts are used by patent offices during the examination process to judge an invention’s novelty, inventive step or non-obviousness. They may also be employed by courts in opposition or invalidity proceedings.

A prior art search can be an invaluable tool in determining whether your invention is eligible for patent protection, so it’s imperative to conduct one before filing your application. Furthermore, researching other inventors’ works in your field provides valuable insight into what else is out there already.

Before filing a patent application, it is necessary to conduct an extensive search of the relevant patent database. A comprehensive patentability search will give you a detailed report of prior art related to your invention and allow you to make an informed decision as whether or not to file.

Many people mistakenly assume the only way to determine whether your invention is unique is by looking into existing products. While this can be helpful, there are other forms of prior art as well.

For example, a prehistoric cave painting could be considered prior art as it illustrates how an idea worked thousands of years ago. Additionally, technological innovations that were centuries old could qualify as prior art if they had been described or demonstrated previously but weren’t commercially available at that time.

Another type of prior art is information kept secret. This could include details related to a commercial operation or offer to sell what later becomes the subject of a patent claim, even if employees and others with access to this data are bound by nondisclosure obligations.

Prior art is often composed of previously granted patents and published patent applications. However, any type of document or material can also be considered prior art – from academic papers and publications, trade/specialty journals, books, on-line resources, brochures, sales materials or physical specimens from any country in any language.


Provisional application filing fees are the fees required to submit a patent application. Unlike nonprovisional patent applications, which need claims to define an invention, provisional applications don’t contain any claims and instead serve the sole purpose of confirming your status as “first to file.”

The basic fee for filing a provisional application is $280; those eligible for small entity status pay $140 and micro entities pay $70. Additionally, an additional fee applies if you file the cover sheet on any date other than when filing the application itself.

In addition to the basic filing fee, you’ll also have to pay a fee for each independent claim plus any excess ones. These costs apply to utility patent applications with more than three claims or total-claims applications with 20 or more claims.

For instance, if you have 23 claims and four of them are independent, then you will pay both the base filing fee for all 23 claims as well as three independent-claims fees of $460, $230, and $115 respectively.

Avoid paying additional USPTO filing fees by filing your independent-claims and excess-claims claims in separate applications. This strategy can save a considerable amount of money on USPTO filing costs.

Once your application is in the system, claims can begin to be processed. As part of this step, you may be asked for documents that help examiners determine which claims are valid and which should be rejected.

If you wish to appeal any of your rejected claims, a fee for a verbal hearing must be paid. Depending on how much is owed, this could amount to either $400 or $650.

As you can see, the fees associated with a provisional application filing are extensive. Therefore, taking time to research them thoroughly before filing your application ensures that you won’t end up spending money on unnecessary costs.

Another important point to be aware of is the fact that if you defer payment of your provisional application filing fee until filing a corresponding nonprovisional application, then you can still receive benefit or priority under 35 U.S.C. 119(e) and 37 CFR 1.78. Additionally, publishing technical subject matter into the collaborative database and receiving other benefits under this program are still possible even if no claims are made in your corresponding nonprovisional application.