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How Much Does it Cost to Patent an Invention?
This article explains how much it costs to get a patent for an idea or invention. Patent costs are different for utility patents, plant patents, and design patents. A general utility invention estimate is $9000, total. Typically, a general design invention estimate is $5300, total. Lastly, a general plant invention estimate is $7000, total. These estimates include the professional fees for all the patent steps:  prior art search,  patentability evaluation,  application writing,  application filing, and  patent prosecution. These estimates presume USPTO small entity status.
Utility Patent Costs Estimates
A general utility invention estimate is $9000, total.
ESTIMATE: How much does a patent cost for an utility idea/invention: estimate $1000 for the prior art search and patentability evaluation, $4000 to write the patent application, $1000 U.S. utility patent application filing fee, $2000 to write and file office action responses, and $1000 for issue. Thus, a utility patent costs about $9000. (US patent costs)
EXAMPLE: How much does a patent cost, utility patent example: New hand tool invention. All in all, the patenting cost is $4454. In this case, the prior art search and patentability evaluation cost is $599. Further, $1800 to write the patent application followed by $455 for the U.S. utility patent application filing fee. Lastly, $800 to write and file office action responses and $800 for issue. (Inventor paid micro entity fees at the USPTO.) (Jan 2021)
Design Patent Cost Estimates
A general design invention estimate is $5300, total.
ESTIMATE: How much does a patent cost for a design idea/invention: estimate $1000 for the prior art search and patentability evaluation, $2000 to write the patent application, $500 U.S. design patent application filing fee, $1000 to write and file office action responses, and $800 for issue. Thus, a design patent costs about $5300.
EXAMPLE: How much does a patent cost, design patent example: Travel bag design invention. All in all, the patenting cost is $2929. In this case, the prior art search and patentability evaluation cost is $599. Further, $1540 to write the patent application followed by $290 for the U.S. design patent application filing fee. Lastly, $500 for issue. (Inventor paid micro entity fees at the USPTO.) (Jan 2021)
Plant Patent Cost Estimates
A general plant patent invention cost estimate is $7000, total.
ESTIMATE: How much does a patent cost for a plant patent: estimate $1000 for the prior art search and patentability evaluation, $3500 to write the patent application, $500 U.S. patent application filing fee, $1200 to write and file office action responses, and $800 for issue. Thus, a plant patent costs about $7000. Importantly, the costs of the biological deposit and any required photos are not included in these costs.
Patenting Cost Events
There are five patent application cost events when pursuing a patent for an invention that will incur professional fees. Importantly, after filing a patent application, there are patent prosecution events that add cost. The five patent application cost events are: first, a professional fee for a prior art search and patentability evaluation; second, a professional fee for patent application writing; thirdly, the patent office filing fees; fourth, professional fees for patent prosecution; and, if there are allowable claims, fifth, the patent office issue fee. Other typical things that affect patent 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, there are three major patenting cost influencers: firstly, the kind of application (utility, plant, or design); secondly, the complexity of the invention; and, thirdly, whether international protection is sought.
Estimating New Invention Total Patent Application Costs
The invention determines the cost of patent application writing. Patent application writing cost 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 complete patent application writing and drawing is $2500 for a design patent and $4000 for a utility patent. Estimates increase for complexity and when written language translations are required.
The cost of a patent depends on the filing fees. Patent office filing fees vary depending on four things. First, the kind (utility/design) of application. Second, the length of the application. Third, the number of claims. And, fourth, the inventor/applicant entity status.
How much patenting costs also depends on patent prosecution costs. 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. Patent prosecution fee costs vary, but it is best to estimate $1k for each, to include the issue fee.
Costs are different for utility, plant, or design patents. The kind of patent influences patent costs. Utility patent applications are more complex to write and prosecute. Like plant patents, 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.
For example, there are application description differences. Design patents, like plant patents, typically cost less to write and file than utility patents, because they are simpler to write and prosecute. For a design patent application, like a plant patent application, descriptions are not usually much longer than a few sentences and only have one claim. 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. And, utility patent applications can have as many claims as needed.
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, a design patent does not require an abstract.
There are also differences in writhing the claims. 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.
The number of claims influences how much a patent costs. More claims means more writing and prosecuting, and more filing fee. Thus, more claims means more cost. Claim writing is complex. Proper claim form is essential. Professional help is highly recommended for claim writing.
Finally there are cost differences in getting the drawings that we need created. The kind and number of figures needed also influences patent costs. 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.
Complexity affects the cost of utility patents. How much patenting costs is influenced by the complexity of the invention. 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 require more time and effort on the written parts, but can also require much more time and effort when it comes to 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.
Filing a U.S. or International application affects costs. How much patenting costs is influenced by whether it is a U.S. only or International application. Here at Carson Patents there is little or no difference in cost to write a patent application for the U.S. or internationally. However, there is a big difference in the patent office filing fees.
Applications for patents in the U.S. only cost less. This is because U.S. patent applications only seek protection over the making, using, and selling of the invention in the United States.
U.S. patents are either utility, plant, or design patents. The international patents are the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) filing for utility and plant patents, and The Hague (international industrial design) filing for design patents.
International patenting costs more. For international design patenting, there is the Hague (International design) process. Hague patent applications cost more because design registration protection is sought in many countries. Of course, each country has its fees. However, unlike the PCT (International utility) process, there is only one application for a Hague design registration. For international utility patenting, there is the PCT process.
A PCT costs more due to the application seeking protection in many countries at the same time with a single application. However, International utility patenting also costs more because each country/region requires its own patent application. The initial PCT application is patent pending in over 190 countries with a single application. But, the PCT is a two stage process. The second stage, national stage applications in the countries where protection is sought, has a filing fee in each patent office around the world.
Patent Office Fees
How much a patent costs is influenced by the filing fee for the patent application. The patent office filing fee cost has these two influencers: firstly, the kind of application, and secondly, the USPTO inventor/applicant entity status.
Affected by Application Kind
The kind of patent application determines filing fee cost. Two examples: (in 2021) Firstly, the regular U.S. design patent application filing fee starts at $1180. Secondly, a U.S. utility patent application filing fee starts at $1820. Further, the International application filing fees are more expensive. Check the USPTO Fees and payment page for current pricing.
Important Note: When estimating costs, don’t forget to plan for the issue fee. The U.S. patent office issue fee cost has these two influencers. First, whether it is a utility patent, plant patent, or design patent. And, second, the USPTO inventor/applicant entity status. A timely filed regular U.S. patent office issue fee is about $1200, frequently less. Estimate $800 if you are a micro entity.
Effect by USPTO Inventor/Applicant Entity Status
How much a patent costs is influenced by 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 their invention. And, they are under no obligation under contract or law to assign, grant, convey, or license any rights in the invention.
Small and Micro Entities have not filed four or more other applications. And, for Micro Entities their gross income is less than about $203k/year (as of Jan 2022). Contact Carson Patents for patenting cost details for utility, plant, and design patents. Read more about Micro Entity Status at the USPTO.
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