How Much Does It Cost To File A Patent: What You Need To Know About Filing Expenses

How Much Does It Cost To File A Patent?

Obtaining a patent can be a complex and expensive process that involves several steps and fees.

In this article, we will explain how much it costs to file a patent in 2023, what factors affect the cost, and what options are available for reducing the cost.

How Much Does It Cost To File A PatentCourtesy:(China Briefing)
How Much Does It Cost To File A Patent
Courtesy:(China Briefing)

Types of Patents and Fees

The first step in filing a patent is to determine what type of patent you need for your invention. There are three main types of patents: utility patents, design patents, and plant patents.

Each type of patent has different requirements, fees, and durations.

  • Utility patents protect the functional aspects of an invention, such as a machine, a process, or a composition of matter. Utility patents are the most common and the most expensive type of patent. They last for 20 years from the filing date of the application.
  • Design patents protect the ornamental appearance of an invention, such as the shape, color, or pattern of an article. Design patents are less common and less expensive than utility patents. They last for 15 years from the date of grant.
  • Plant patents protect new and distinct varieties of plants that are asexually reproduced, such as by grafting or cutting. Plant patents are the rarest and the cheapest type of patent. They last for 20 years from the filing date of the application.

The cost to file a patent depends on several factors, such as the type of patent, the size of the applicant, the complexity of the invention, and the number of claims.

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) charges different fees for filing, searching, examining, issuing, and maintaining a patent.

These fees are subject to change every year and can be found on the USPTO fee schedule.

The USPTO also offers reduced fees for small entities (such as small businesses or nonprofit organizations) and micro entities (such as individual inventors or universities) that meet certain criteria.

According to the USPTO fee schedule effective December 29, 2022 (last revised July 7, 2023), here are some examples of the fees for each type of patent:

Fee Utility Patent Design Patent Plant Patent
Basic filing fee $320 ($160 for small entity; $80 for micro entity) $220 ($110 for small entity; $55 for micro entity) $220 ($110 for small entity; $55 for micro entity)
Search fee $660 ($330 for small entity; $165 for micro entity) $160 ($80 for small entity; $40 for micro entity) $440 ($220 for small entity; $110 for micro entity)
Examination fee $760 ($380 for small entity; $190 for micro entity) $140 ($70 for small entity; $35 for micro entity) $600 ($300 for small entity; $150 for micro entity)
Issue fee $1,000 ($500 for small entity; $250 for micro entity) $700 ($350 for small entity; $175 for micro entity) $700 ($350 for small entity; $175 for micro entity)
Maintenance fee (3.5 years) $2,000 ($1,000 for small entity; $500 for micro entity) N/A N/A
Maintenance fee (7.5 years) $3,760 ($1,880 for small entity; $940 for micro entity) N/A N/A
Maintenance fee (11.5 years) $7,400 ($3,700 for small entity; $1,850 for micro entity) N/A N/A

 

Factors Affecting the Cost of Filing a Patent

Besides the USPTO fees, there are other factors that can affect the cost of filing a patent. Some of these factors include:

  • The complexity of the invention: The more complex and technical your invention is, the more time and effort it will take to prepare and file a patent application. You may need to conduct more research, provide more drawings and specifications, and make more claims to cover all aspects of your invention. This can increase the cost of drafting, filing, and prosecuting your patent application.
  • The number of claims: The USPTO charges an additional fee for each claim that exceeds 20 for utility patents and 3 for design patents. Claims are the legal statements that define the scope and boundaries of your invention. The more claims you have, the more protection you can get, but also the more fees you have to pay. You may also have to pay extra fees for independent claims (claims that do not depend on any other claim) and multiple dependent claims (claims that depend on more than one other claim).
  • The prior art: The prior art is the existing body of knowledge that relates to your invention. It includes patents, publications, products, or any other public disclosure of similar or relevant inventions. Before you file a patent application, you should conduct a thorough search of the prior art to see if your invention is new and non-obvious. You should also disclose any prior art that you are aware of to the USPTO. The more prior art there is, the more difficult it may be to obtain a patent and the more fees you may have to pay for searching, examining, and responding to rejections or objections from the USPTO.
  • The professional assistance: Filing a patent application is a complicated and technical process that requires legal and technical expertise. You may need to hire a patent attorney or agent to help you prepare, file, and prosecute your patent application. A patent attorney or agent is a person who is licensed by the USPTO to represent inventors in patent matters. They can advise you on the patentability of your invention, draft your patent application, communicate with the USPTO, and handle any issues or challenges that may arise during the patent process. The cost of hiring a patent attorney or agent can vary depending on their experience, reputation, location, and complexity of your invention.¬†According to the American Intellectual Property Law Association (AIPLA), the average cost of hiring a patent attorney or agent in 2021 was $12,500 for a utility patent and $3,500 for a design patent.

Options for Reducing the Cost of Filing a Patent

Filing a patent can be a costly endeavor, but there are some options that can help you reduce the cost or make it more affordable. Some of these options include:

  • Filing a provisional patent application: When you’re inventing something, you can file a temporary patent request to save the date early. No need to pay all fees or meet all the big rules of a regular patent. This quick patent lasts a year, giving time to test, make, or sell your invention before a full patent request. Costs $280 ($140 if you’re small; $70 if you’re really small). No extra search or check fees1. You still need to explain your invention and make pictures like they want at the patent office. You also need a full patent within a year, or you lose your date and your quick patent goes away.
  • Filing an international patent application: An international patent is when you want a patent in a lot of places with just one ask. It follows the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), which has 153 places as of 20233. Two parts: worldwide part and local part. For the worldwide, you ask one place (usually your own country), pay once, and get a search report and an “is it okay?” note from another place. Maybe more checks if you want. For the local part, you go to each place you want a patent, follow their rules, and pay their money. An international patent helps spend less on lots of asks. But, no promise of getting a patent everywhere. Still need to do what each place wants
  • Applying for government grants or programs: There are some government grants or programs that can help you cover some or all of the costs of filing a patent.¬†For example, in the United States, there is the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program and the Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program that provide funding for small businesses to conduct research and development projects that have potential for commercialization

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