Small business, or solo inventor and are on a limited budget, how can you get a cheap patent?
Do-It-Yourself (Draft it and File it Yourself)
United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is designed to allow individuals to get a patent themselves without the help of a lawyer. You can write the patent yourself, submit it and pay the filing fees.
Is this method free? No. You will always have to pay the filing fees to get your patent examined and then pay the issue fee once it is allowed.
Cost of Filing It Yourself
The fees range between $430 and $860 depending on if you are a micro entity or a small entity. Although it is not free to file yourself, you will still be getting a cheaper patent.
Still To Expensive? Do A Provisional Patent Application Yourself?
If $430 to $860 is still too expensive, you can file what is called a provisional patent application. A provisional patent is a placeholder patent application that allows you to claim patent pending status for up to one year and then decide whether to invest the larger amount for a full patent application (non-provisional patent application) that will be examined and can become an issued patent application.
Cost of Filing It Yourself
The cost to file a provisional patent application yourself is between $70 to $140.
The downside to the provisional patent application is that at the end of the one year time period you will lose all patent rights to the invention if you do not file the non-provisional patent application. One strategy startups with a limited budget use is to file the provisional patent themselves for the $70-$140, test the product/invention out in the market during that year period to see if it is valuable, and if it is, have a patent attorney prepare the non-provisional patent application.
Fiverr & Other Low Cost Options
The short answer: You are better to do it yourself.
If you can't do it yourself but can not afford and attorney, you can use other low cost services such as Fiverr where others will prepare the application for you (and sometimes file it for you even though that is illegal). While this is an option, doing it yourself it typically the better option. The individuals offering their services on these types of platforms typically only take a few minutes to prepare the application, do a worse job then you would have yourself, and give you the false sense of security that it was done right.
If Budgets Allow - The Better Option Is to Use an Attorney
If the budget allows, it is recommended to use an experienced patent attorney to prepare and file your provisional or non-provisional patent application. They can help you avoid issues down the road and draft a patent application that is more valuable.
The Cost of An Attorney
The typical cost to hire an attorney to prepare and file a provisional patent application is $1750-$3000 and a non-provisional patent application is $5750-$10,000. The majority of what you are paying for is the attorney's time and experience in preparing a patent application that will fully cover your invention and reduce the likelihood of a rejection(s) during examination.
Whichever option your choose, good luck along your inventive journey!
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