How much does it cost to draft a provisional application for a business method? 13 Answers as of March 05, 2014

I have received quote from an attorney for $750; does this sound right? Seems kind of low? I'm not complaining about the price. I just want to make sure it is done on a decent level. I don't want to file it myself because I am not a professional. Any advice? How much should I be spending for this?

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Law Office of Robert M. White, PLLC
Law Office of Robert M. White, PLLC | Robert M. White
A provisional application is a first step in obtaining a patent for an innovative idea in the United States, and serves primarily as a priority document used to establish the date of innovation and preclude others who later file a provisional covering the same idea. No patent is granted based solely on the information obtained in a provisional application. It should be understood that a patent, if granted, is based solely on the information that is provided in the non-provisional application. In terms of content, the provisional application provides what can be viewed as analogous to the frame of a picture with a fairly general description of what the painting "will" contain. It is important to ensure that the provisional application covers, in general, every aspect of your idea since you aren't able to add new aspects in the non-provisional application claiming priority from that provisional application. For example, if you discuss generally an idea having A, B, and C in the provisional application, you cannot disclose aspects D, E, or F in the non-provisional application. Certainly, patent law can be very complex and the information discussed above may be difficult to wrap your mind around. This is why it is always recommended to seek counsel experienced in patent law when looking to get a patent on an idea. Even so, the quote you've received does not seem unreasonable for completing and filing a document that is relatively straightforward and limited in format. The higher fees you expect are sure to come with filing the much more detailed and lengthy non-provisional, the application from which a patent is actually granted. Hope this helps!
Answer Applies to: North Carolina
Replied: 3/5/2014
Law Office of Kirk Buhler
Law Office of Kirk Buhler | Kirk A Buhler
There is no specific answer to your question. Here are some guide points to use. Some companies charge $199. You should generally avoid them. I have seen some fair provisional applications for $750 but most of them are not complete. From the AIPLA economic report 2013 a typical provisional application runs about $3,500 with a non-provisional about $6,500. The only difference between a provisional and a non-provisional application should be the claims. You should ask them how many pages will be in their typical provisional application, and how much will it be to convert their provisional into a non-provisional application. A decent provisional application will run 8 to 10 pages plus the drawing.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 2/26/2014
Mark S. Hubert PC
Mark S. Hubert PC | Mark Hubert
I depends on how much effort he is putting into it. Also does this include the filing fee? My self i tend to charge in the range of $1200 including the filing fee but my provisionals are very thorough and thus when you decide to file a full utility patent within a year i charge $1000 or so less for the full utility application.
Answer Applies to: Oregon
Replied: 2/26/2014
Gerald R. Black, Esq.
Gerald R. Black, Esq. | Gerald R. Black
It is strongly recommended that the inventor seek the advice of counsel and not draft the Application him or herself. You are paying for the Attorney's time. It appears that the attorney will be spending less than 4 hours on the Application. That is a tad low. Also, as an example, a business method for a lemonade stand (a basic system) will be much easier to describe in a Provisional Application than a business method for a new Facebook system. In addition, there may be drawings needed for the Application. While the drawings can be informal, generally a business method involves logic diagrams and even system layouts. Beware of hidden charges. Good luck!
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 2/26/2014
Barton Barton & Plotkin
Barton Barton & Plotkin | Maurice Ross
Such a low price scares me. In this business, "you get what you pay for" . Clients often pay twenty times that amount to obtain a properly drafted provisional from experienced legal counsel. Moreover, attorneys who provide such bargain-rate services often do not provide their clients the full range of services that they need. Drafting a provisional is the easy part but the drafting process must be part of a broader commercialization/product development strategy. And the most critical piece of that strategy is an "IP Clearance" analysis-you need counsel to investigate whether you can make, use and sell your invention without violating patents and other IP rights owned by others. Without a proper clearance analysis, an attorney cannot draft a good provisional or utility application-because it is critical to know whether it is necessary to "design around" the prior art. Drafting a provisional without a clearance analysis is like flying a jet aircraft without lights and landing gear. A crash landing is a distinct possibility. The clearance analysis work is the most critical part of a broad commercialization/business development strategy-no investor will touch your invention until this work is done. You need to retain counsel not merely to draft a provisional but to give you the strategic and business guidance you need, including the clearance analysis, market analysis, fund-raising analysis, etc. Lawyers that offer bargain-basement rates for "drafting" are not offering you the quality services that you need-they are offering to indulge you by taking a shortcut which, in the long run, could be very harmful to your ultimate business objectives. Laying the proper legal foundation for your invention/business is absolutely critical. Filing a provisional is one tiny, often unimportant, step in the process of commercialization. You need a substantial legal budget for this-think six figures. If you do not have access to adequate funding, raising such funding should be your highest strategic priority. Do not fool yourself into believing that filing a provisional is a magical event that will help you find funding that is often wrong. Filing a provisional is one among many steps you need to take, but don't do so without a comprehensive legal and business strategy under guidance from experienced legal counsel.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 2/26/2014
    Microtechnology Law & Analysis | Daniel Flamm
    That depends on the subject matter and how the work is done. These days, since the recent changes in U.S. patent law, I and many other attorneys recommend that the provisional be drafted in a professional manner similar to a regular application. In other words, think of the provisional as a preliminary draft of the final. Another way, which used to be common, is for the provisional to be a "sandwich" of a technical disclosure such as a viewgraph presentation or preprint "pasted" between official forms. The second way is relatively cheaper, but generally not the best approach for many reasons. $750 sounds like the second way, say $300-400/hr x ~2 hrs. to review, paste, complete the forms, and file.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 2/26/2014
    Sebby Law Office
    Sebby Law Office | Jayne Sebby
    I assume you're talking about filing a provisional application for a patent. If so, the amount you quoted seems reasonable.
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 2/26/2014
    DANIEL NESBITT
    DANIEL NESBITT | Hasse & Nesbitt
    Properly drafting a patent application on a business method will cost 10 times your quoted estimate, or more.
    Answer Applies to: Ohio
    Replied: 2/26/2014
    DunlapWeaver PLLC
    DunlapWeaver PLLC | David Ludwig
    The pricing can vary and often depends on the specificity of the provisional application. Although the threshold requirements for a provisional application are pretty basic, filing an overly simplistic provisional application can cause problems in the future. Specifically, if the provisional application is not sufficiently detailed, the validity of a subsequently issued patent can be challenged as to the priority date, and you could lose the rights to relate that patent back to the provisional filing date. We offer three tiers of flat fee pricing: $895 for up to five pages of specification (and coordination of four pages of drawings), $1295 for up to eight pages of specification (and coordination of up to six pages of drawings), and $1595 for up to twelve pages of specification (and coordination of up to 8 pages of drawings). In addition to these costs, we charge $399 to $799 for drawings (depending on the number), and you will also have to pay the Patent Office filing fees ($65 to $260, depending on the size of your company). You should talk to your attorney about the scope of his offered services, his experience in drafting provisional applications, the length and complexity of the specifications he is offering to draft, and whether drawings are included in his fees. When it comes to patent filings, cheaper is not always better, and a provisional application that lacks sufficient detail to allow the subsequent patent to relate back is essentially worthless.
    Answer Applies to: Virginia
    Replied: 2/26/2014
    Webb IP Law Group
    Webb IP Law Group | Jason P Webb
    Pricing for provisional patent applications can range from $200 - $4500+ (plus the government filing fee) and software-based technology (almost all business method applications are software based) will be towards the high end. If not, then the attorney is probably skipping steps or maybe just doing a "coversheet provisional" which is taking your material, adding a coversheet and filing the application. For a provisional patent application to be solid, it needs to meet the enablement requirement, the written description requirement and have a broad enough description to meet the doctrine of equivalents needs. Pretty hard to do a good job at that for $750.
    Answer Applies to: Utah
    Replied: 2/26/2014
    Banner & Witcoff, Ltd. | Ernie Linek
    This is a low price - but not unreasonable. You should visit the US Patent Office website for more information on provisional applications - www.uspto.gov. The drafting work likely includes no prior art searching or prior art analysis - instead it will simply be the cost for setting up your invention into the traditional parts of a provisional application, namely - Background (if any) Summary of the Invention Detailed Description of the Invention (with Examples if any) Claims (maybe at least one) Abstract The provisional will be valid for 1-year from the filing date. After that - it is expired. Conversion to a formal US Application and any desired foreign filings must be made before the expiration date.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 2/26/2014
    Mark Torche | Mark Torche
    Business method patents are difficult to get. They were not allowed before 1995 and then with the Supreme Court decision in Bank Street, the USPTO started to issue them. There was an outcry and then most business method patents were rejected. Now they are allowed but in my experience more difficult to get allowed. I think that the fee is quite low and I certainly could not afford to write a provisional application for that fee. Something to watch out for is although the technical requirement to get a provisional application filed and thus to receive "patent pending status" is low, basically pay the fee and call it an application, the actual law requires exactly the same disclosure with a full utility application except for the requirement to contain at least one claim. If your provisional does not really operationally disclose your invention, you really have no protection. I would carefully consider filing a very comprehensive provisional at a reasonable rate.
    Answer Applies to: Iowa
    Replied: 2/26/2014
    David M. Driscoll | David M. Driscoll
    you get what you paid for
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 2/26/2014
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