Filing a provisional patent application online

Filing a provisional patent application online -  a step by step guide.  At this point in the process you should have written your patent application and have three separate pdf files saved and ready to be submitted to the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).   If you are not ready, go back to the previous post.

*Your timing must also be perfect here.  If you file too early you will prematurely start your 1 year time period.  If you file too late, you could lose some patent rights.  Read this post on When to File a Provisional Patent.

Here are the steps for filing provisional patent at the USPTO website (updated in 2024 for the new Patent Center system)

Go to the USPTO website


1. Click "Patent Center"

Click on "Patent Center"

Click 'Patent Center'

2. Click "New submission"

Initiate a new patent submission.

Click 'New submission'

3. Click "Utility Provisional"

Choose the type of patent application as "Utility Provisional".

Click 'Utility Provisional'

4. Click "Continue"

Proceed to the next step of the application process.

Click 'Continue'

5. Click "Select" under the No ADS option (good news - an ADS is not required for a provisional patent application) 

Select an appropriate option.

Click 'Select'

6. On this page you will fill out basic information about your patent.  If you don't have an attorney docket number you can make one up such as 1000-0100



Fill '1000-0100'

7. Choose your entity status.   Most solo inventors are probably a micro entity.  See our post on this here: micro entity

Select the appropriate option for application fees.

Click 'Regular Undiscounted Small Micro'

8. Fill in the title you choose for your patent application.  Here I just use "Test Title"

Enter the title of your invention.

Fill 'Test Title'

9. Type the first and last name of the inventor

Click the selected option

Click here


10. Click "Provide physical address"

Enter your physical address.

Click 'Provide physical address'

18. Type in your name and address

Select this field

Click here

19. Click "Continue"

Proceed to the next step.

Click 'Continue'

20. Click "Browse files" and upload your main patent files.  In my case I have four (4) files

  1. the transmittal or provisional coversheet
  2. the figures
  3. the specification
  4. the micro entity form

Select the option to browse files.

Click 'Browse files'



21. Click the down area to select the proper application part (see my images below)

Click on the dropdown menu.

Click 'arrow_drop_down'

Here are the four files with four proper names.  Click Continue

Proceed to the next step.

Click 'Continue'

22. Enter in the page count

Click here

Click here


23. Click "Continue"

Proceed to the next step.

Click 'Continue'

24. Click the box for the provisional patent application.  As a micro entity the cost here is $60 but this may go up or down in the future. 

Click 'false'


25. Click "Continue"

Proceed to the next step.

Click 'Continue'

26. Enter in your information

Fill ''

27.  Hit the submit button.   You will next need to make sure you pay using a credit card.  If you don't pay the fees, you don't have a properly filed patent application. 


If you get errors you may have issues with your pdf file.  I suggest using a free program like primopdf to "print" rather than save your pdf files.  If you need extra help with this we do offer a "we file for you" service where we can help prepare all your forms and do the submission process on your behalf.  More information on this is available here: We File For You


Your provisional patent will expire after 12 months!  If you want to keep your patent coverage after that point, make sure to set a reminder for yourself about 10 months after you file to either re-file a new provisional patent or file a non-provisional patent.   If you need help figuring out what the best strategy is, please contact me.

By Brad Fach