How much does a utility patent application cost?

A utility patent application can be filed as either a provisional (which can be a do-it-yourself option) or nonprovisional application (which you should not be DIY). Assuming you want to file a nonprovisional application, you can expect our firm’s initial filing cost to range from $6,000 to over $15,000, depending upon the complexity of the invention.

What does the initial filing cost include?

The initial filing cost includes our attorney’s fees for preparing the nonprovisional application, plus out-of-pocket costs typically consisting of the USPTO filing fees and illustrator fees.

For a small entity (e.g., company with fewer than 500 employees), the USPTO initial filing fees start at $785. Illustrator fees range from $300 to $700, depending upon the number of drawing sheets and the complexity of the figures. For the initial filing, it would be prudent to budget out-of-pocket costs for a small entity to amount to approximately $1,500 with the understanding that actual costs may come under.

As discussed below, the majority of the initial filing cost consists of professional fees for the patent attorney or agent writing the nonprovisional application.

What is not included in the initial filing cost?

Our initial filing cost does not include a patentability search ($1,500 flat rate for each invention) or the ongoing prosecution of the utility application. You should expect at least one Office Action from the patent examiner which will require a response.

What is the cost estimate for US patent attorney’s fees for drafting a utility nonprovisional application?

At my firm, we provide flat rate estimates for drafting a utility nonprovisional application after we’ve had an opportunity to understand the complexity of the invention and other factors affecting the scope of the initial filing work (e.g., number of examples/”embodiments”).

For a relatively simple invention such as a product with mostly mechanical features, our attorney’s fees start at $6,000. In some cases, we might be able to achieve an even lower initial filing flat rate due to the simplicity of the invention.

For an invention with moderate to high complexity, attorney’s fees for the initial drafting of the application can range from $9,500 to $15,000, or more.

Initial filing estimates are provided on a case-by-case basis. As a helpful budgeting guide, see our 2019 patent fee schedule below.

ICLG Patent Flat Fee Schedule – 2019

US Utility Patent Our Fee USPTO Fees (small entity*) & Vendor Fees Total
Initial Filing of Non-provisional Application
Drafting non-provisional

(rates vary by level of complexity: low, medium, high)

Low: $6-9K

Medium: $9,500 – $15,000

High: $16K+

USPTO: $785+

Drawings: $300+




Filing US National Stage Application based on PCT

Initial Filing Service includes:

·    Making Priority Claim

·    Preparing formal documents

·    Non‑substantive formality review

·     Non-substantive edits

$570 USPTO: $790+ $1,360+
Filing drafted US Non-Provisional including Initial Filing Service above $570 USPTO: $785+ $1,355+
Office Action Responses
Drafting Office Action (OA) responses

(rates vary by level of complexity: low, medium, high)

Conducting examiner interviews (phone/video)

Low: $500-$1,500

Medium: $1,500-3,000

High: $3,000+


Ongoing Patent Prosecution
Forwarding OA without review

Filing signed Patent Assignment

Filing IDS**

Filing PPH Request

Filing OA response drafted by outside counsel
(formality review only)

Paying issue fee, sending original Patent Certificate, and docketing maintenance (renewal) deadlines

Ongoing prosecution







Flat rates




Patent Maintenance/Renewal      
Paying 1st maintenance fee (3½ yrs)

Paying 2nd maintenance fee (7½ yrs)

Paying 3rd maintenance fee (11½ yrs)




USPTO: $800

USPTO: $1,800

USPTO: $3,700




*Small Entity status generally refers to individual applicants, companies with less than 500 employees, and universities or other institutions of higher education.  USPTO fees for large entities are double.

**$40 courtesy discount if foreign prior art references and English abstracts are provided, or if US prior art only.

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Vic Lin

Vic Lin

Startup Patent Attorney | IP Lead Partner at Innovation Capital Law Group
If you are a startup or small business, we want to help. Our mission is to equip entrepreneurs with solid IP rights that facilitate funding, growth and sales. Let's get to work! Direct: 949.223.9623 | Email:
Vic Lin

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