One of the questions I’m asked most frequently is “How much does a patent cost?” Well, that’s like asking “How much does a house cost?” or “How much does a car cost?”. Of course, it all depends on the house or car.
The same is true regarding a patent. Will you be using a patent attorney to draft and prosecute your patent? (That, in itself, will add up to many thousands of dollars — typically $10,000 – $20,000.) Or, are you going to give the patent application a whirl yourself?
For do-it-yourselfers: I’m a strong believer that almost any individual can file and prosecute a patent application by himself or herself. In fact, that’s the intent of my https://patent-your-inventions.com website To give you the insights to take your idea and patent it yourself. And save yourself a bundle in the patent process.
If you go the do-it-yourself route, there are some fundamental costs imposed by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). As of 10/2/08, the following are the baseline USPTO fees for an individual inventor (in patent lingo, an entity that qualifies for “small entity status”):
The four basic fees for individuals / “small entities” for what’s called a non-provisional application (a full-fledged patent application):
1. The USPTO filing fee: $165
2. The USPTO patent search fee: $270
3. The USPTO examination fee: $110
So, when you total the above, it will cost $545 to submit your patent application.
4. Should you be successful with your patent application — that is, the USPTO Patent Examiner says that you have an allowable application — you’ll need to pay $755 to the USPTO to have your patent issued.
So, all totaled, the fees to the USPTO would be $1,300.
A couple things to point out:
1. The initial filing fee mentioned above ($165) is for a patent application with up to three independent claims and 17 dependent claims. “Claims” are the heart of a patent application — and I intend to go into further detail on Claims in another post that I’ll write over the next week or so. Suffice it to say, your first patent application will likely not have more than one or two independent claims and likely less than 17 dependent claims — so the $165 is a good gauge for your patent-planning budget.
2. Realistically, it’s going to take one to two years (maybe even more) before your patent might issue (that is, your application allowed by the USPTO Examiner). Indeed, the process does take that long. So, you won’t be paying the $755 issue fee for some time — which really helps when you’re budgeting your overall expenses.
Of course, as with anything, there are other costs that you might have to incur. For instance, will you have to pay someone to create the drawings of your invention that you’ll have to submit with your patent application? If you’re “artistically challenged” like me, you’ll either need to find someone to help — or use some of the neat software tricks I’ve learned to turn photographs into “line art” drawings. (This is another topic that I plan to write about in the very near future. Stay tuned, as this trick alone can save you a great deal of money.)
In a nutshell: If you go the do-it-yourself route, it will cost you about $1,300 spread out over a couple of years (as the $755 issue fee won’t have to be paid until you receive approval — called “Notice of Allowance” — from the patent office examiner). On the other hand, if you hire a patent attorney, it will likely cost you between $10,000 and $20,000. And many of those dollars will be expended very early in the process.
As I mentioned above, my goal for this Web site is to help you file a patent application yourself. Of course, I can’t guarantee your success. I have no idea if your invention is even patentable. But I can point you in the right directions to give you a great shot at success if your invention is patentable.
Glad to help!
P.S. If you’d like to review the entire U.S. Patent and Trademark 2009 Fee Schedule, visit the following link: http://www.uspto.gov/web/offices/ac/qs/ope/fee2009september15.htm
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