Initial Free Consultation Starts Patent Application Process for your Invention

Scheduling a free patent consultation is the best place to start when seeking a utility patent for your invention. Starting with a free consultation will give you the chance to ask questions and make sure we understand your invention. The patent application process is complicated; and like we frequently tell our inventors, the most important thing the inventor needs to focus on when working with a patent practitioner (patent attorney or patent agent) is whether they believe the practitioner understands the invention.

Our USPTO registered patent attorney has two degrees in engineering and is gifted at visualizing new inventions. To start the patent application process for an invention, we need 3 things from the inventor (or patent applicant) in order to formally get started working on a utility patent application for the invention:

  1. make sure we understand the invention;
  2. signed client engagement letter; and
  3. prior art search payment ($1600).
Schedule a Free Patent Consultation with Patent Attorney Greg Carson

Prior Art Search to Determine Novelty and Non-Obviousness

We will confirm receipt of the signed client engagement letter and payment and give you an estimate of when we will conduct the prior art search. Conducting the prior art search will determine if we think the invention is novel. Locating documentation of anything similar to what your invention claims is the first step in the patent application process.

We conduct the prior art search in two stages. The first stage focuses on the novelty of the invention as a whole. We will send you a first set of prior art documents for you to review. After you review, we will meet with you via Zoom or phone to discuss the prior art found.

After this meeting, we will complete a second, and final, prior art search focused on its non-obviousness. This second search is broader and will look at what can be combined to make the invention obvious. We will send any more prior art that is found for review and meet with you a second time to discuss the patentability of the invention.

Patent Attorney Finding Prior Art

Patentability Study to Describe Patent Viability

After the prior search is complete, we will send you a patentability study report in which we describe the viability of a patent for your invention. In other words, we will send you a written report that explains whether or not your invention is patentable and why. We will only offer to write and file a patent application and continue the patent application process if an invention meets all 4 patentability criteria.

It is important to note that no invention is guaranteed to be issued a patent. At this stage, you will decide if you would like to continue the patent application process with the writing and filing of a patent application for your invention. We can provide guidance but cannot make this decision for you. You can anticipate receiving the patentability report within two (2) weeks after the prior art search has begun.

Patent Attorney Determining Patentability

Writing the Patent Application to Claim the Invention

If the invention is patentable and the inventor (or patent applicant) wants to proceed, our fee for patent application writing will likely be $4000 – $6000 depending on the complexity of the invention. The USPTO filing fees are in addition to our fee and are determined by entity status, PCT/U.S. application, and number of claims.

We require payment of half of our fee before we begin writing the patent application. We cannot determine our fee until after the prior art search is complete.

While we are writing the application, we will send you the claims, specification, abstract, and drawings (and forms) for review and approval as we go. We will keep you posted throughout the writing and drawing development of the patent application process. Writing the application can take anywhere from two weeks to a month. The inventor should review all documents carefully to be sure the claims, specification, abstract, and figures represent the invention.

Patent Attorney Writing the Patent Application

Filing the Patent Application to Become Patent Pending

After we agree that the claims, specification, abstract, and drawings represent the invention and that the forms are complete and proper, we are ready for patent application filing. This is the part of the patent application process that actually gets the invention patent pending.

Your entity status and whether we are submitting a PCT application or a U.S. application determines the filing fee. We will be able to provide filing fee estimates as early as during our initial free patent consultation.

The number of claims and pages also affects the filing fee. For example, in a U.S. application that qualifies for micro entity status, it is $20 per each additional claim if there are over 20 claims. The USPTO filing fee information can be found here. Prior to filing, we require the second half of our fee and the filing fee needed to submit the patent application. After we file the application, we will receive a filing receipt that we will email to you. This filing receipt is proof of patent pending status for the invention.

Patent Attorney Filing the Patent Application

Foreign Filing

Foreign applications are not required, however, they are often beneficial to the inventor depending on where patent protection is desired. Patents are issued and enforced in individual countries or regions, so a patent from one country only provides protection in the country where it was issued. The complication is that you only get 12 months from the filing date of the first patent application of any kind for your invention to start patent applications in any/all countries where protection is sought.

Filing a PCT makes an invention patent pending in all countries and adds 18 months to the filing deadline for starting patent applications in other countries. Therefore, the applicant has 30 months from the first filing to file foreign applications if they filed a PCT. If a U.S. application was filed, any foreign applications must be filed within 12 months of the U.S. filing date. Protection cannot be sought in other countries more than a year after filing a U.S. application (the invention then becomes prior art for any connected application).

If a PCT application was filed, any foreign applications must be filed within 30 months from the application filing date. A PCT application can also be used to extend the period for foreign filing of an already filed U.S. application. In other words, you can file a PCT application for the same invention as a U.S. patent application to extend the foreign filing deadline. 

Inventor Note: There are additional fees for each foreign application (our affiliates’ professional fees and the filing fees of that country).

Inventor Note: If an application for the invention has a notice of allowance or an allowed patent in one country, the Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) can be used to accelerate foreign patenting.

Patent Prosecution Pre-Grant

Patent prosecution (pre-grant patent services) begins with receiving a formal filing receipt from the USPTO signaling that examination will begin. The application is then sent to the appropriate art unit, reviewed by a supervising patent examiner, assigned to a patent examiner, and docketed for examination. It can take several months for an application to get all the way through this part of the patent application process.

After the patent examiner reviews the application, we will receive office actions with any objections or rejections, or we will receive a notice of allowable subject matter. The patent application process may take months to a year or more in the patent prosecution step.

Many patent applications require substantive changes (amendments to the claims, specification, abstract, and figures) that require additional fee payments. Anticipate $2000 for potential office action fees (our average is $1600). We will let you know when we receive office actions. We will send you the office action and our suggestions for responses for your review prior to submitting any response.

Pre-Grant Patent Services

Patent Prosecution Post Grant

Please note that not every patent application is granted. We may not be able to overcome the rejections raised by the examiner in office actions to reach notice of allowance.

Post grant means the patent application process produced a granted patent. If we receive a notice of allowance in your application, anticipate about $1000 for the issue fee and processing to get your patent issued. This estimated cost for post grant patent services includes the issue fee and our fee for processing the forms and establishing us as the communication contact for the patent to be issued. We provide ongoing communications with the USPTO, monitor the patent, and let you know when maintenance fees are due.

After the patent is issued (post grant patent services), there are maintenance fees due at 3 and 1/2 years, 7 and 1/2 years, and 11 and 1/2 years that we will notify you of as we reach them. After paying the issue fee, we will receive the notice of issuance that will tell us the patent number and publication date. It takes about 3 months to receive the actual patent after processing the issue fee payment. 

Post Grant Patent Services

Summary of Professional Fee Events:

  • Prior Art Search – $1600
  • Writing and Filing – Anticipate $4000 – $6000
  • Prosecution – Anticipate $2000 (our average is $1600)
  • Post Grant – Anticipate $1000 for issue fee processing

We have an article on patent application costs. Click on the image to read more about patent costs. Please note that all inventions are unique and may have slightly different fees than the estimates provided on this page. The patent cost estimates provided here are general in nature and intended to offer the inventor a reasonable way to estimate the costs of the patent application process for an invention. Schedule a free patent consultation to begin the patent application process for your invention.

Costs of Patenting an Invention