Summerville, SC asked in Patents (Intellectual Property) for South Carolina

Q: What is the average cost to get a provisional patent for an app idea?

1 Lawyer Answer
Peter D. Mlynek
Peter D. Mlynek
  • Patents Lawyer
  • Moorestown, NJ

A: The filing fee that the U.S. Patent Office charges for a provisional patent application is $260 if you are a large business, $130 if you are a small business, or $65 if you are an individual inventor (but not too rich).

But the filing cost is not an issue. You need to have a good patent agent or patent attorney to prepare the application for you. That could be anywhere from a few hundred dollars to well over $10,000.

Why such a huge range? Well, a provisional patent application does not issue as a patent. To get a patent, you need to file a non-provisional patent application, which may claim priority to an earlier provisional patent application. Every patent attorney knows what needs to be in a non-provision patent application, and will charge accordingly. But with a provisional patent application the patent attorney can put down as much or as little as the inventor wants to; if it is too little, then the provisional application has limited use during the examination of the non-provisional patent application.

Some clients almost always file provisional applications, and some very rarely. I do whatever the client wants, but I generally advise my clients, that unless there are certain special circumstances, they should generally not bother with filing a provisional patent application.

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