Tradeoffs Between a Provisional and a Traditional Utility Patent Application

Tradeoffs Between a Provisional and a Traditional Utility Patent Application

Provisional Patent Basics

Filing Fees: Provisional patent applications cost $80 to file.

Can You Do It Yourself?

Provisional Patent can generally be prepared by the inventor, with or without a review by a patent attorney.

Total Investment: Overall, a provisional patent application costs anywhere from $80 to thousands of dollars.

As a practical matter, as the expense goes up, it generally becomes prudent to file a full utility patent application.

How Your Invention Is Protected

The inventor is accorded a U.S. Patent filing date for anything adequately described in his application and has immediate “patent pending” status upon filing.

The single most important thing one must understand about a provisional patent application is that provisional patent applications die after one year and must be followed up by a corresponding utility patent application to preserve any benefit of filing the provisional patent application.

Thus, for those who actually seek a patent, filing the provisional application is an added expense because sooner or later you have to file a full blown $5000 utility patent application or have zero patent rights.

For this reason, most patent attorneys, such as InventHelp patent attorney, disfavor provisional patent applications and advise the client to bite the bullet and file a full blown $5000 patent application. This is good counsel in many cases.

When A Patent Application Makes Good Sense

There is a specific situation where filing a provisional patent application makes good sense, namely if all of the following are true:

  • The inventor cannot easily come up with $5000 for a utility patent application.
  • The inventor has sufficient writing skills that he can adequately describe the invention himself.

The inventor uses the one year period before the provision patent application expires to do two things:

  • Serious research and/or selling to determine with some certainty the commercial value of the invention
  • Seeks funding from friends, family, business partners to finance a utility patent application before the year expires.

Utility Patent Basics

Filing Fees: Utility patent application filing fees start at $385.

A patent application must meet formal filing requirements or the application will be rejected in part, requiring resubmissions in a timely matter until the formalities are satisfied.

Can You Do It Yourself?

Usually not. Because of the formalities required for a utility patent application, and the nuances of patent law, most people generally use a patent agency, such as patent invention InventHelp agency or an attorney.

Total Investment

It typically costs around $5000 in attorneys fees to have a utility patent application drafted by an attorney.