What You Must Know About the Provisional Application Fee
When filing a patent application in the United States, it’s essential to comprehend the various fees. Particularly, you should be aware of the provisional application fee.
Provisional applications are a cost-effective way to safeguard your invention for 12 months, and may be the ideal option if you don’t have enough money for a nonprovisional patent application.
Fees for filing a US patent application
Fees for filing a US patent application vary based on the type of patent. Utility patents cost anywhere from $7,300 to $20,000. Design patents tend to be cheaper at around $960.
Filing a US patent application can be expensive, but there are ways to reduce expenses. One strategy is filing the application using a “staged” approach – each stage being filed separately – which provides more flexibility and cost efficiency when filing your patent application.
Consider developing a novel process to pasteurize milk into cheese. Filing a provisional application early will give your invention the best chance of being granted patent protection.
In order to secure a priority date for your invention, you must submit specific details such as an abstract, process flow diagram and list of claims. Filing a provisional application also grants you the benefit of an early filing date for any subsequent applications that might utilize this priority.
But the provisional application has its drawbacks: It doesn’t protect your invention and doesn’t grant ownership rights. This means you must wait a while before being able to utilize the invention, and sometimes patenting may not even be possible.
The United States patent system has long provided creative solutions to pressing problems by protecting inventors’ exclusive rights and disseminating technical data to spur further innovation. With the current outbreak of COVID-19, however, the USPTO is implementing a deferred-fee provisional application pilot program in an effort to speed up invention exchange related to combatting COVID-19 while still guaranteeing inventors their right to protect their ideas and enable further technological development.
A major aspect of the USPTO’s mission to safeguard inventors’ rights is also to promote free-flowing technical information among some of the world’s brightest minds. Fortunately, this data is made public through published patent applications and through the patent system. This provides an invaluable source of technical data which inventors can then use to develop other technological advancements, creating jobs, boosting economic activity, and progressing our society as a whole.
Fees for filing a patent application in a foreign language
Filing a patent application in another language entails numerous fees. These range from government charges and attorney fees to translation expenses, which differ by country depending on the number of claims included in your application.
National or regional patent offices often have specific rules regarding which languages they will accept when filing a patent, so be sure to double-check these before proceeding with filing your invention. While most offices will accept English and other official languages, make sure you file in the language designated for your country of residence.
For example, the Burundi patent office has stated that they accept Kirundi, French and English as language options when filing. However, their examiners tend to be more proficient with French so if possible it would be wiser to file your patent there.
In order to file a nonprovisional application in another language than English, you must also provide an accurate translation and statement verifying its accuracy. Failure to supply these documents will result in the abandonment of your application.
When submitting your patent application to the USPTO, it must be formatted in DOCX (Document Output Format). You can use a word processing program such as Microsoft(r) Word, Google Docs, Office Online, LibreOffice/ Pages for Mac or Corel(r) WordPerfect to create your document.
You must include the full specification, including your description and claims as well as any drawings required. You can submit your entire patent application electronically through the new Patent Center system if you feel comfortable preparing it in a word processing program. Alternatively, you may send it by post or fax instead.
A complete specification must also be accompanied by an oath or declaration from the inventor. This statement should confirm that they have a good faith belief that their invention is unique and useful, not previously known to the public.
Fees for filing a patent application in a foreign country
A patent is a form of intellectual property (IP) protection that keeps others from using your invention. Generally, you can only obtain a patent for an invention that solves a technical problem in an original and non-obvious way.
Foreign countries differ in their patent laws and how they handle patented inventions. Some require your invention be manufactured within their country after a certain period of time, while others charge maintenance fees that can amount to an astronomical sum. It pays to stay informed on these fees so you aren’t caught off-guard when dealing with foreign nations!
To justify the expense of filing a foreign patent application, there must be an excellent likelihood that your invention will be sold in the targeted region or country. This can be determined by researching the sales market of that particular region.
Another element to take into account when selecting a country for business is whether its legal system takes patents seriously. This is especially pertinent if you plan to sell your invention there and want to prevent any legal disputes from arising.
Saving money on foreign patent applications can often be achieved through the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT). This system enables you to submit one application in the US that covers multiple countries.
Once a PCT application has been accepted, you can proceed with national stage patent applications in each country that you wish to protect your invention. These will be reviewed and granted as patents by each respective patent office.
Translation costs can add up to a substantial amount of money, as each patent application, Office Action and reply must be translated into a language that will be understood by examiners in each foreign country.
Other factors to consider include whether a foreign country has an appropriate patent office and whether that country can serve as an expansion market for your product. If unsure whether or not filing in a particular country makes sense, consult with an experienced patent counsel.
Fees for filing a patent application in a micro entity
Micro entities are the smallest legal entities recognized by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). In 2013, Congress added this status to micro entities in order to give new inventors and small businesses more legal protection of their rights.
Micro entity patent application fees can be reduced up to 75 percent. This discount is only available to individual inventors, small businesses and nonprofit organizations formed under Section 501(c)(3) of the US Code.
Micro entity filings have seen a remarkable surge in recent years, particularly within the field of design patents. For instance, applications filed with micro entity certifications increased by 44% during fiscal year 2019.
In order to take advantage of micro entity filing discounts, applicants must include a certification with their patent applications. This certification can be signed by either an experienced patent attorney, the assignee, or all the applicants.
Individual applicants must meet two conditions: their gross income must not exceed three times the median household income for the preceding calendar year as reported by the Bureau of Census; and they cannot have been named an inventor on more than four other patents.
Alternatively, an applicant can meet the qualifications for higher education on an institution of higher learning basis. According to the USPTO, an institution of higher learning is defined as any accredited public or non-profit institute offering programs of two years or more for post-secondary students.
If you qualify on the institution of higher education basis, please include form SB/15B with every application that you submit. Similarly, if your qualification is based off gross income, form SB/15A must also be included with each submission.
These forms can be found on our Patents Forms page or downloaded directly from either our website or the USPTO’s.
In addition to micro entity filing discounts, the USPTO now accepts a variety of other fee reductions for eligible applicants. For instance, the provisional application fee is now reduced from $370 to $260 instead of the usual $370.
Micro entity filing discounts are valid for 12 months from the date of payment; once that status is lost, small and large entity filing fees must be paid in full.