How much does it cost to get a patent?
Patenting Cost Examples
Rechargeable cordless hand tool invention. Patenting cost $6310, total. $800 for the prior art search and patentability evaluation, $2400 to write the patent application, $910 US utility patent application filing fee, $1600 to write and file office action responses, and $600 for the issue fee. (Inventor paid small entity fees at the USPTO.)
General utility invention estimate $8000, total. Estimate $1000 for the prior art search and patentability evaluation, $3000 to write the patent application, $1000 US utility patent application filing fee, $2000 to write and file office action responses, and $1000 for issue.
General design invention estimate $4500, total. Estimate $1000 for the prior art search and patentability evaluation, $2000 to write the patent application, $500 US design patent application filing fee, $600 to write and file office action responses, and $400 for issue.
Patenting Cost Events
There are five times, or events, in pursuing a patent for a utility invention that will incur cost. Additionally there are other events that happen which can add cost. The five cost events are: firstly, a professional fee for a prior art search and patentability evaluation, secondly, a professional fee for patent application writing, thirdly, the patent office filing fees, fourthly, professional fees for patent prosecution, and, if there are allowable claims, fifthly, the patent office issue fee. Other typical events that happen which can add cost include: [a] long application filing fees, [b] extra claim fees, [c] late filing fees, and [d] petition fees.
Every invention is unique and each application has its own intricacies. However, the big three major patenting cost influencers are: firstly, the kind of application (utility or design), secondly, the complexity of the invention, and thirdly, the countries where protection is sought.
General Patent Cost Estimating
The cost of patent application writing is determined by the invention. Patent application writing costs has these three influencers: firstly, the kind of application (utility or design), secondly, the complexity of the invention, and thirdly, the countries where protection is sought. A good general estimate for patent application writing $2000 for a design patent and $3000 for a utility patent. Estimates increase for complexity and written language translations.
Patent office filing fees vary depending on these three issues: firstly, the kind (utility/design) of application, secondly, the international filing choices, and thirdly, the inventor/applicant entity status.
Patent application prosecution costs vary depending on the activities needed to properly and completely respond to an office action. It is best to estimate two or three patent prosecution professional fee events for responding to office actions. Prosecution fee costs vary, but, it is best to estimate $1k for each.
Utility or Design Patent
Utility patent applications are more complex to write and prosecute. Design patent applications are simpler and need less prosecution. There are major differences in all three of the key written areas of a good patent application. There are significant differences between utility and design patents in the description, claims, and drawings.
Application Description Differences
Design patents typically cost less to write and file than utility patents because they are simpler to write and prosecute. Design patent application descriptions are not usually much longer than a few sentences. Whereas utility patent application descriptions are usually at least a few pages, not sentences, long. It is common to have 15 – 20 pages of written description for a utility patent. Whereas, a design patent has only a paragraph description.
In addition to the many more pages of description, utility patents also need additional pages for the abstract and the claims. Just the abstract of a utility patent, while limited to 150 words, is typically longer than the written description of a design patent application. Whereas, an abstract is not needed for a design patent.
The difference in patent claims also helps explain the difference in cost. Utility patent applications usually have one or more pages of claims. In contrast to design patents that have only this one claim, “I claim the ornamental design as herein shown and described.” Utility patents usually have many claims, and may have several different kinds of claims.
Utility patents are not limited in the number of claims. Over 20 claims requires additional government fees, but there is no limit. Utility patents can have independent, dependent, and multiple dependent claims. There are kit claims, method claims, Markush claims, and species claims too. Just to name a few.
More claims means more writing and prosecuting and thus means more cost. Claim writing is complex. Proper claim form is essential. Professional help is highly recommended for claim writing.
The differences in drawings and figures between utility and design patents can also contribute to the difference in cost. Design patents usually have a single set of figures to show the six orthogonal sides of the design. They may also have one or two 3D, perspective, or partial section cut-away views to highlight the design.
Utility patent applications in contrast may need many drawings. Utility patent drawings show the relationships between elements and features of an invention. Figures such as flowcharts, flow diagrams, or operation diagrams may also be needed. Depending on the utility patent, there may be many more drawings required than for a design patent.
As you might expect, the simpler the invention the simpler it is to write and prosecute the application. To explain complexity here, a space shuttle is a complex invention, and a toaster is a simple invention. It is less expensive to draw and write a patent application for a simple invention. A simpler invention is less expensive because there are fewer moving parts and elements to draw and write about.
More complex patents not only require more time and effort on the written parts, but can also require much more time and effort when it comes t0 the drawings. The application must describe how to make and use the invention. More complex inventions need more complex descriptions and drawings. And, they require more time and coordination to complete. Thus the complexity of an invention contributes to its patenting costs.
US only or International
US only patents cost less. This is because US patent applications only seek protection over the making, using, and selling of the invention in the United States.
US patents are either utility or design patents. The international patents are the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) filing for utility patents, and The Hague (international industrial design) filing for design patents.
International patents cost more. This is because the international application seeks patent protection in many countries, and each country/region requires its own patent application.
Patent Office Filing Fee
The patent office filing fee cost has these three influencers: firstly, the kind of application, secondly, in which countries protection is sought, and thirdly, the USPTO inventor/applicant entity status.
The kind of patent application determines filing fee cost. For example, in 2020, the regular US design patent application filing fee is about $1020. Whereas, a US utility patent application filing fee is about $1820.
USPTO Inventor/Applicant Entity Status
USPTO Inventor/Applicant Entity Status can be regular, small, or micro. Smaller is better in this case. Small Entities get a 50% discount on most patent office filing fees. Micro Entities get a 75% discount on most patent office filing fees.
Generally Small and Micro Entities are persons who have not assigned, granted, conveyed, or licensed, and are under no obligation under contract or law to assign, grant, convey, or license, any rights in the invention. Additionally, for Micro Entities, they have not filed four or more other applications, and their gross income is less than about $190k/year. Contact Carson Patents for patenting cost details.
Patent Office Issue Fee
The patent office issue fee cost has these two influencers: firstly, whether it is a utility or design patent, and secondly, the USPTO inventor/applicant entity status. A timely filed US patent office issue fee is about $1200, frequently less. Estimate $500 if you are a micro entity.
Contact us to discuss your options on how to keep patenting costs low.