I was wondering, if I applied for a patent (non prov. app) by submitting the description, abstract, claims, drawings and other documents if necessary but did not pay any fee, how would that be treated?

Specifically, would the application be published or treated as published for prior art purposes or could I get it published later effectively making it count as if it had been public as of the filing date for prior art purposes?

If not, what is the cheapest way to make a defensive patent application publication?

I'll accept the answer with the lowest cost associated with that publication. Additionally I'm interested in the US and EU cost but please feel free to omit any of those and still add an answer.

The application doesn't have to be in shape for a grant, the only requirement would be ensuring it counts as public disclosure regarding other applications in at least the US.

Exact figures concerning fees would be appreciated to ensure comparability.


Since a key benefit would be to allow an examiner to find the publication, it seems the publication would need to be in English. I have therefore focused on jurisdictions which publish in English. I have also of course omitted the costs of local agents.

In order from most to least expensive:


A non-provisional patent application must include the filing, search, and examination fees. For a micro entity, this is USD 1720/1080/430 for a large/small/micro entity.

You can then request early publication. This takes at least 14 weeks. There is no fee for this.


A European application requires the filing and search fees to be paid. This is EUR 1420.

You can the request early publication, which should occur shortly afterwards.


You can request accelerated publication once the search and application fee (GBP 160) have been paid. This occurs within six weeks of the request, as long as the formalities and search has been performed. However, the search can take 6 months or so (unless you have a reason to accelerate it).


You can file an application for an innovation patent. The fee for this is AUD 180. This will typically be granted within a few weeks, then published shortly after.

This is therefore a fast and cheap process (and you do actually get some sort of protection out of it). However, innovation patents are likely to be abolished soon.

Other jurisdictions

I vaguely recall from studying for a foreign patent law exam some years ago that South Africa may be a good jurisdiction, since they don't currently examine patent applications. You could therefore in principle file an application which is granted pretty quickly. But having never handled in a case in South Africa, I have no idea how long this takes, and what the associated costs are. I've also never seen a South African application cited, so I'm not sure if that would actually be of any use.

  • Are there utility models with lesser fees in any english-y jurisdictions you know about? I was surprised to learn how cheap the german one actually is. – DonQuiKong Mar 2 '18 at 7:34
  • @DonQuiKong According to WIPO's list of countries with utility models, the only major (for patent purposes) English speaking country with utility models is Australia. But the Philippines, Ireland or ARIPO may work. I'm afraid I don't know enough about the process in those states to know what the fees would be though. – Maca Mar 2 '18 at 7:40

German utility model

The fee for registering a German utility model is 40€ (30€ for the electronic version which needs a signature card though). Apparently a search fee is not necessary. The utility model is published ~ 4 weeks after registering and registration is done after paying the fee (max. 3 months of time) and an examination for formal requirements.

It has to be submitted in German or officially translated to German, however I don't see any reason not to include an informal translation to English which should actually be published too then.

It's a stretch, but I think this would be a solution too.

Plus, without further fees you are actually getting some protection for 3 years.

  • From the (my) question I would have to accept this as the lowest cost (I had the idea only now), though I'm not 100% certain it would work, so I won't accept this before knowing if it actually would work. I'll leave the question open or accept another answer till then. – DonQuiKong Feb 26 '18 at 7:59
  • Or maybe it shouldn't count because one needs a german specification too. I don't know what would happen if one used google translate for that. – DonQuiKong Feb 26 '18 at 8:23

Your Answer

By clicking "Post Your Answer", you acknowledge that you have read our updated terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy, and that your continued use of the website is subject to these policies.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.