Provisional Patent Applications: Basic Costs
The United States Patent and Trademark Office charges relatively minimal fees for filing provisional patent applications. The base fee is $280, but reduces to $140 if the applicant qualifies as a small entity and reduces to $70 if the applicant qualifies as a micro entity. Additional fees may apply, depending on the unique circumstances of each applicant. For example, if a provisional patent application exceeds the 100 sheet limit, a fee is imposed for each additional 50 sheets associated with the application. At the fee’s greatest, each additional 50 sheet overage will cost an applicant $400. However, this additional sheet fee reduces to $200 for small entities and $100 for micro entities. A provisional patent application processing fee will also be collected in the amount of $50, regardless of how an applicant has been classified.
Provisional Patent Applications: Why Invest in Legal Assistance
One of the primary reasons why it is so important to invest in legal assistance before filing a provisional patent application is that failing to do so can cost you a great deal of money before and after your patent application process is complete. While attorneys will generally charge a truly modest amount for assisting with a provisional patent application, the costs associated with a rejected or delayed provisional patent application may be extraordinary.
As you may be aware, provisional patent applications do not bestow temporary patent protections upon creative work. Instead, their function is to help inventors secure favorable filing dates for their final, formal, non-provisional patent applications. As long as these non-provisional patent applications are filed within one calendar year of the corresponding provisional patent applications, these favorable filing dates will be honored.
Securing a favorable non-provisional filing date is critically important for two primary reasons. First, the USPTO will evaluate any prior art it discovers against the non-provisional filing date. The longer an inventor waits to secure this date, the more likely it becomes that prior art could interfere with the patent eligibility of the inventor’s work. Second, this filing date will serve as the reference point for an invention’s legal protection in the event that the inventor is ever involved in an intellectual property dispute. Securing an early date could mean the difference between enforceable and unenforceable intellectual property rights.
When a provisional patent application is successfully completed, submitted and approved, it allows an inventor a full year to work with an attorneys before a non-provisional patent application must be submitted. When the non-provisional patent application is submitted, it will be reviewed in accordance with the filing date secured months earlier by the provisional patent application. If the provisional patent application is not properly completed and approved, it can cost an inventor an untold amount of money and resources, depending on how that inventor’s work is ultimately affected by a later filing date. It could cost the inventor an outright rejection of the non-provisional application, a loss of an intellectual property claim down the road and/or the need to appeal an initial application rejection to the USPTO.
Working with an experienced attorney in a proactive manner will help to ensure that the provisional application step in the patent process is achieved successfully and without delay. Failing to invest in legal guidance as early in the patent application process as possible could lead to disastrous consequences that could otherwise have been prevented. And unfortunately, the USPTO charges nuanced fees associated with virtually every hiccup in the non-provisional patent process. Helping to ensure that your attorney has the time to successfully complete your non-provisional patent application by securing a favorable filing date via a provisional patent application may help to save you a great deal of money in fees alone later in the process. Although it can be tempting to save money upfront by filing a provisional patent application yourself, it is generally a good idea to avoid being penny wise and pound foolish.
Provisional Patent Application Assistance Is Available
While it is technically possible to complete and submit both provisional and non-provisional patent applications without assistance, working with an experienced intellectual property attorney places you in the best possible position for success. Attorneys who specialize in this area of law understand how to navigate the USPTO’s application process efficiently, effectively and without unnecessary delays. Please consider allowing an experienced LawTrades intellectual property lawyer to assist you with your patent application process. We look forward to speaking with you.