How much does it cost to patent an idea or invention?
How much it costs to get a patent for an idea or invention is different for utility patents and design patents. A general utility invention estimate is $8000, total. A general design invention estimate is $4500, total.
Utility Idea/Invention: 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. Thus, a utility patent costs about $8000.
Design Idea/Invention: 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. Thus, a design patent costs about $4500.
Patenting Cost Examples
Utility Patent: New hand tool invention. Patenting cost $4454, total. $599 for the prior art search and patentability evaluation, $1800 to write the patent application, $455 US utility patent application filing fee, $800 to write and file office action responses, and $800 for issue. (Inventor paid micro entity fees at the USPTO.) (Jan 2021)
Design Patent: Travel bag design invention. Patenting cost $2929, total. $599 for the prior art search and patentability evaluation, $1540 to write the patent application, $290 US design patent application filing fee, and $500 for issue. (Inventor paid micro entity fees at the USPTO.) (Jan 2021)
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 complete patent application writing and drawing is $1500 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 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. 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. Two examples: (in 2021) Firstly, the regular US design patent application filing fee starts at $1180. Secondly, a US utility patent application filing fee starts at $1820. Further, the International application filing fees are more expensive.
A patent only offers protection in the country where it was issued. If patent protection is desired in multiple countries the costs will be determined by how many and which countries. Each country has its own application filing fees. And, of course, more countries means more fees.
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 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 $190k/year. Contact Carson Patents® for patenting cost details.
Patent Office Issue Fee
The US patent office issue fee cost has these two influencers. Firstly, whether it is a utility or design patent. Secondly, the USPTO inventor/applicant entity status. A timely filed regular US patent office issue fee is about $1200, frequently less. Estimate $500 if you are a micro entity.
Looking to keep patenting costs low? Contact us to discuss your options on how to keep patenting costs low.
Table of Contents
- How much does it cost to patent an idea or invention?
- General Patent Cost Estimating
- Patent Office Filing Fee
- Patent Office Issue Fee