What is a Provisional Utility Patent Application?

A provisional utility patent application is an affordable way to secure a filing date for your invention. The filing fee of $75 is waived and the invention can be labeled “patent pending” for 12 months.

Non-provisional utility patent applications cost up to $300 and require a written description of your invention, claims, and drawings. It is highly recommended that you hire a patent professional to draft your application.


The cost of a provisional utility patent application can vary significantly based on the complexity of your invention and which firm you work with. Typically, this involves both attorney billing time and fees for filing with the USPTO.

Saving money on patent applications can be done in several ways. Writing and filing your own application is the cheapest option, saving you around $1,000 in costs.

Alternatively, you can hire a registered patent attorney to prepare and file your patent application. While this may be more costly, the savings in fees alone will exceed $1,000.

Additionally, there are other costs associated with a patent application. These include the patent examiner’s fees which typically amount to $4,200 for a provisional patent application.

Furthermore, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) charges search fees that range from $40 to $660. These costs cover looking up pending patents and other similar inventions.

Additionally, you must pay examination fees which range between $150 and $700. These costs cover an examiner’s time in reviewing your patent application to determine its validity.

Fees can be a significant component of the cost of filing for patent protection, so it’s essential to carefully consider what you want to safeguard and guarantee that your application covers all pertinent elements of your invention.

The prosecution process is the major expense associated with a patent application. This involves meeting with a patent examiner and presenting your application before the USPTO, which can be an extensive and costly endeavor. Therefore, it’s essential that you have experienced and qualified patent attorneys handling your case from start to finish.

Finally, additional costs that may accrue after filing a patent application include appeals and amendments. While these expenses aren’t included in the initial fee structure, they could prove costly if you fail to take steps to safeguard your patent.


When you have an idea for a product, service or process that could be beneficial to your business or the world at large, it’s wise to protect your investment by filing for a utility patent application. This is the most efficient way of doing this.

Typically, the patent process takes between 12 and 32 months from filing your application to receiving a granted patent. This timeline includes conducting an initial search, crafting and filing your application, as well as waiting for the Patent Examiner to review it. However, wait times may vary based on factors such as examiner’s queue length or complexity of invention.

Once your patent application has been filed, it will be assigned to a team of USPTO patent examiners. These examiners will compare your invention with previous patents in the same field and take any time needed depending on how complex your invention may be and how quickly they can complete their task.

No guarantee exists that your patent application will be granted. In fact, you could find yourself embroiled in an extensive and costly legal battle with another company if your request is denied.

Therefore, it is essential to plan ahead and get your patent application completed as soon as possible. Doing so could lead to costly errors that could cost you dearly and eventually destroy your idea.

To prevent this, always draft your provisional utility patent application with the assistance of a professional and have it reviewed by someone in your industry. Doing this will give you an unbiased assessment of how successful your invention could be.

Make sure your provisional patent application satisfies all necessary criteria for utility patents, such as novelty, non-obviousness and written description. If these standards aren’t fulfilled, then you could potentially forfeit all your patent rights.

To guarantee your utility patent application is filed correctly and meets all necessary criteria for success, hire a registered patent attorney. These professionals can guarantee your patent application is filed promptly and accurately.

For small entities, filing a utility patent application will cost between $75-300. Prosecution and issuing the patent will add another $5,000 to $7,500 in costs.


If you have a new invention but are uncertain if it’s ready for patent application, a provisional utility patent application might be the better option. These applications are more cost-effective than full utility patent applications and can be prepared more quickly, making them popular among inventors who need to get their product into market before having enough resources to file a full application.

A provisional patent application offers several advantages. Most notably, it permits you to establish the filing date for your invention and claim that date as its priority date – guaranteeing exclusive rights over it for no one else.

It is an essential rule in the U.S., as it determines who invented something first and grants a patent to them. This is especially relevant if there are other people with similar or identical ideas within one field of endeavor.

To verify the validity of your filing date, you must meet certain conditions. These include providing a detailed description of your invention with sufficient drawings to illustrate its operation. Furthermore, include claims that define its scope and determine whether anyone has infringed upon it or not.

Be aware that your provisional may not provide sufficient information in order to claim priority over a non-provisional filing within one year from its filing date. This could occur if your invention is complex or involves multiple processes and/or devices.

The AIA changed the rules in this area, leading some applicants to be more meticulous than they might otherwise be. They tend to include a detailed account of what they’ve done in their provisional applications.

Another significant advantage of a provisional patent is that it will grant you an extra year to file for a full non-provisional patent application. This gives you time to assess the value of your invention and decide if investing in a full non-provisional patent is worth investing in. Once filed, this will begin your 20-year patent term.


Provisional utility patent applications don’t need as many details as regular utility applications, but they still must demonstrate your invention to others. This includes providing a detailed description of how the invention functions (a “description”), along with making one or more “claims” which define the scope of patent protection.

Your invention must be written so that someone with ordinary skill in the art could practice it if they knew how. Furthermore, include clear drawings illustrating each feature of your invention for easy understanding.

Inventors often file a provisional application when their invention has not been fully developed enough for public disclosure. This may occur when they are just starting out and on a budget, or are uncertain that their product has potential marketability.

However, this approach can lead to major issues in the future if the invention is ever publicly disclosed. For instance, if an inventor’s provisional application is incomplete and/or inadequately describes their invention, they could potentially be barred from patenting it in either the United States or Canada after public use or disclosure occurs.

Another problem is that if an inventor’s disclosure is inadequate, they may not be able to claim priority for their invention at all. This is especially true in the U.S. where certain legal requirements must be fulfilled in order to receive a priority date.

It is essential that you comply with all legal requirements and provide all relevant materials for demonstrating your invention. This includes theses, manuscripts, “Supplementary Materials” sections of journal papers, computer code (preferably with comments), laboratory notebooks, and other documents which describe or support your concept.

A well-drafted and filed provisional application will give you a head start in the race to the patent office, giving you more time to continue developing your invention.