Patent Cost

Ask a patent attorney or a patent agent how much it costs to obtain a patent and you may be surprised to hear a wide-open cost range of between $2,000 and $20,000. To understand why patent costs vary so widely, we need to look at each step in the patent application and approval process and examine the costs involved.

Patent Search

If your invention is too similar to one that has already been disclosed, your patent application will be denied. You’d hate to discover this after having spent thousands of dollars in preparing and filing your application. You can avoid flushing a lot of money down the drain by doing a patent search first.

You can try searching the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) database yourself, or even Google Patents. If you find an existing patent for an invention essentially the same as yours, you will have saved yourself the cost of a professional patent search, as well as an expensive but fruitless patent application.

Not finding any obvious patent conflicts on your own does not put you in the clear, however. Elements of your invention may be included in more than one other patent using language slightly different from what you used in your search. This is where you’ll need a professional search to uncover these issues and a patent agency, such as InventHelp, or attorney to analyze how they affect your invention’s patentability.

The cost of a patent search varies depending on whether your invention is a simple mechanical device or involves more complicated technologies, but may range from $600 to $2000 or so. A patent agent may charge a little less than an attorney, but an attorney can offer a legal opinion if needed.


The Patent Office requires appropriate drawings to illustrate the invention. Because the drawings need to conform to a particular style, an experienced patent draftsman is often used, and the charge is around $100 to $150 per drawing. A typical uncomplicated application requires about three drawings.

Preparing the Application

You have two choices when filing an application. You can file a provisional application, and then follow that within one year by the regular application. Or you can just file the regular application to begin with.

The provisional application is simpler to complete and can be filed more quickly than the regular application. This allows you to establish the all-important filing date, which puts you ahead of anyone else who may be claiming to have invented something similar. It also gives you a lower cost way to potentially lock up the rights to your invention while you decide whether it will be worth the sizable additional expense to file a regular application as explained on

Preparing a regular application is normally the most expensive part of the process. For the simplest inventions, a patent agent or patent attorney may charge from $3,500 to $6,000 to prepare all the documents required to submit to the USPTO. A moderately complex innovation could range from $6,000 to $12,000, while a very complex one could cost $12,000 to $20,000

If a provisional application is filed first, preparation cost could range from $1,500 for the simplest to $5,000 for the very complex. But the majority of this cost is typically deducted from the later fees for the regular application because much of the information on the provisional is used for the regular.

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