How much does a nonprovisional utility patent application cost?

In answering the question of “How much does a utility patent cost?” the largest portion of the cost of filing a nonprovisional utility patent application will be the legal fees for drafting the application. The conventional approach has been to bill hourly attorney’s fees for drafting a utility application. While this makes sense for particular cases and clients, the old school approach doesn’t always work for startups who prefer flat fee estimates for patent drafting services.

Keep in mind that the initial filing cost must also factor in USPTO and illustrator fees if any drawings are involved. So, the total amount of drafting and filing a utility nonprovisional patent application must include the following cost variables:

  1. legal fees;
  2. USPTO filing fee; and
  3. illustrator fees if any drawings need to be formalized.

Our firm charges flat rates for drafting a nonprovisional application which start at $8,500. Our flat rates for drafting nonprovisionals vary depending upon the complexity of the invention as well as the number of variations/alternatives/embodiments. USPTO fees for a small entity (e.g., individuals or company with fewer than 500 employees) start at $830. Illustrator fees typically start at $200.

So, the low end of the range will generally start at approximately $9,600. Feel free to contact us to obtain a free flat fee estimate for your nonprovisional application.

What does the initial filing cost include?

The initial filing cost includes drafting the nonprovisional application, and revising the draft based on input from the client or inventors. Our initial filing estimates will typically include the USPTO filing fees and illustrator fees. If our clients wish to add new features which were not initially disclosed, we can provide flat rate estimates for the additional scope of work.

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. It is not uncommon to receive two to four Office Actions in a utility application before deciding whether to continue, abandon, or appeal.

US patent attorney’s fees for drafting a utility nonprovisional application: cost ranges

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 called “embodiments”).

For a relatively simple invention such as a product with mostly mechanical features, our attorney’s fees start at $8,500. USPTO filings fees (assuming small entity with fewer than 500 employees) and illustrator fees will add at least $1,100 in costs. So, expect the initial filing of a utility nonprovisional patent application to start at $9,600. 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 $10,000 to $15,000, or possibly more if multiple concepts are involved. Including USPTO (small entity) and illustrator fees, the initial filing of more complex inventions will range from $11,000 to 17,000.

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

ICLG Patent Flat Fee Schedule – 2021

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)

Starts at $8,500 USPTO: $830+

Drawings: $300+

starts at $9,600
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

·     Filing assignment (if signed by initial filing)

$590 USPTO: $830+ $1,420+
Filing drafted US Non-Provisional including Initial Filing Service above $590 USPTO: $830+ $1,420+
Office Action Responses
Drafting Office Action (OA) responses(rates vary by level of complexity)

Conducting examiner interviews (phone/video)

starts at $900 (price may vary depending upon complexity)


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 available)





starts at $500 (fee may vary if further work required)





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

Paying 2nd maintenance fee (7½ yrs)

Paying 3rd maintenance fee (11½ yrs)




USPTO: $1,000

USPTO: $1,880

USPTO: $3,850




*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
We align ourselves with Davids fighting Goliaths. Our registered patent attorneys work as a team to equip startups and entrepreneurs with solid IP rights that facilitate funding, growth and sales. Email or call us so we can get to work on your IP: (949) 223-9623 |