If you’ve invented something that you can patent, then you might be wondering how much this process will cost you.

Here in the United States, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) sets the fees for patenting an invention.

Below we’ll go over what you can expect in terms of the expense of filing a provisional patent because it varies depending on your entity type.

How Much Does a Provisional Patent Cost?

When you’re ready to file that provision patent with the USPTO, you’ll notice that there are three different fee options. Those options are:

  • Micro entity
  • Small entity
  • Large entity (just listed as “fee”)
USPTO entities

As of 2021, the cost to file a provisional patent is $75 for micro entities, $150 for small entities, and $300 for large entities. This is the basic filing fee.

One thing to note is that with a provisional patent application, there are no additional fees other than the basic filing fee. This different from a regular patent application, which requires the basic filing fee, the search fee, and the examination fee.

You may notice that the larger the entity, the higher the cost for filing the provisional patent paperwork. Here is how that math works out:

  • Micro entities get a discount that amounts to 75% off the cost of the large entity fee
  • Small entities get a discount that amounts to 50% off the cost of the large entity fee

If you decide to use a lawyer to complete and submit your provisional patent application, you will incur the cost of the attorney’s fees in addition to the basic filing fee for the provisional patent application submission.

Micro Entity Provisional Patent Cost

Most of the time, individuals qualify as a micro entity for the purposes of filing this provisional patent application. Definitely check the requirements before submitting since this is the cheapest way to submit your application for the provisional patent.

Qualifying as a Micro Entity Under U.S. Patent Rules

To qualify as a entity entity for purposes of paying patent fees, you must either be:

  • an individual
  • a small business concern having no more than 500 employees (or affiliates)
  • a university, or
  • a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization

Additionally, you must also meet the following criteria:

  1. The applicant has not been named as the inventor on a total of more than four utility patents (regular utility patents, as opposed to provisional patent applications), design patents, or plant patents. This also does not include certain international applications and applications owned by a previous employer. In addition, the applicant must have had a gross income in the previous year of less than three times the median household income reported by the Bureau of the Census. (See the USPTO website, here, for current income limits; the most recent publicly available gross income limit is $184,116). In the event that the patent application has been assigned, the assignee must have had a gross (not net) income of less than three times the U.S. median household income; or
  2. The majority of the patent filer’s employment income is from an Institution of Higher Learning, or the applicant has assigned, or is obliged to assign the patent to an Institution of Higher Learning. An Institution of Higher Learning is a public or nonprofit accredited institution that admits post-secondary students for programs of not less than two years.

Small Entity Provisional Patent Cost

If you don’t meet the qualifications for a micro entity, then you still may be able to save some money if you qualify as a small entity.

Qualifying as a Small Entity Under U.S. Patent Rules

To qualify as a entity entity for purposes of paying patent fees, you must either be:

  • an individual
  • a small business concern having no more than 500 employees (or affiliates)
  • a university, or
  • a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization

According to NOLO, if you or your business qualify as a Small Entity, you need only to verify that status by executing a declaration when paying the fee.

Note that there is an exception to this filing status: If you are obligated to license or assign the patent to a bigger entity that does not qualify as a small entity, such as a multinational corporation, then you could not claim small entity status.

Large Entity Provisional Patent Cost

If you don’t meet the qualifications for a micro entity or a small entity, then you’re stuck paying full price because you’re considered a large entity by USPTO standards.

Large entities are really just applicants that have 500 or more employees for the business.

When counting employees for the purpose of determining the provisional patent fee, you must include any affiliates under the control of the applicant.

Provisional Patent Extra Pages Cost

You might be wondering what happens if you end up needing extra pages for your application. This tends to only happen when you’re seeking a patent on an invention that is particularly complicated.

Unfortunately, there is a cost for those extra pages.

You get the first 100 pages for free, and after that there is a fee for every 50 pages that are added to the application.

As of 2021, the fee for extra pages with your provisional patent application is:

  • $105 for every 50 pages (micro entities)
  • $210 for every 50 pages (small entities)
  • $420 for every 50 pages (large entities)

Provisional Patent Lawyer Cost

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