Types of patents

There are three main types of patent applications: Utility, Design, and Plant.

Utility patent applications protect the structural features and functional features of an invention. Utility applications can be filed for inventions that include an article of manufacture (i.e., a thing), a process (i.e., a method of making something or performing a task, which can include software), and a composition of matter (i.e., chemical compounds, pharmaceuticals, etc.).

Utility patent applications come in two types: provisional and non-provisional (or nonprovisional). A provisional patent application (or PPA) is a temporary placeholder application that preserves a filing date and is pending for one year. A non-provisional patent application is an application that will get examined by an examiner and can issue as a patent if allowed by the examiner.

Design patent applications protect the ornamental appearance of an object and can also be used to protect a computer software graphical user interface (GUI).

Click on the links below to learn more about each type of application:

Provisional utility patent application

Non-provisional utility patent application

Design patent application

How much does a patent cost?

The cost of a patent depends on a number of factors, such as type of application, number of drawings needed, and complexity of the invention. To get a detailed estimate for your particular needs, please contact me at

Here are some very rough estimate ranges for the legal or professional fees for each type of application:

  • provisional patent application cost range $1,500 – 5,000
  • nonprovisional patent application cost range $2,500 – $9,000
  • design patent application $1,000 – $3,000

In addition to the professional fees, each application will require official filing fees which can vary based on the fee schedule you qualify for. Here are some example official fee ranges:

  • Non-provisional patent application official filing fees $400 – $800
  • Provisional patent application filing fees $70-$140
  • Design patent application official filing fees $290-$580

How long does a patent last?

It typically takes between 1 and 5 years to move a patent application through the process at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

Articles on patenting specific inventions:

Click on the links below to learn more about patent applications for these specific types of inventions:

Software patents

Mobile app patents

Robot patents

Medical device patents

Electrical / Mechanical patents

Back to Top