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How much does it cost to get a patent?

How much does a patent cost?

How much it costs to get a patent depends on three things. First, whether it is a utility or design patent. Design patents cost less. Second, whether it is a simple or complex invention. Simple patents cost less. Third, whether it is a US or an International application will contribute to how much it costs to get a patent. US only applications cost less. Contact Us to talk about the options.

Whether the invention or idea needs a Utility or Design Patent matters.

Utility patent applications are more complicated to write and prosecute. Design patent applications are simpler. There are major differences is in all three of the key areas of a good patent application. There are significant differences between utility and design patents in the description, claims, and drawings.

Utility Patents are usually more complex.

Design patents typically cost less than utility patents because they are simpler to write. 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 short description may suffice for a design patent.

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. The abstract is not needed for a design patent.

Utility Patents have more 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 of several different kinds.

Utility patents are not limited in the number of claims. Over 20 claims requires additional government fees. Utility patents can have independant, 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 can be complicated and difficult. Professional help is highly recommended for claim writing.

Utility Patents may even need more drawings.

The differences in drawings and figures between utility and design patents can also contribute to the difference in cost. Design patents usually have just the single set of figures to show the six orthogonal sides of the design. They may also have one or two 3D or partial section cut-away views to highlight the design.

Utility patent applications in contrast may need many drawings, as well as flowcharts, flow diagrams, operation diagrams … and the list goes on. Depending on the utility patent there may be many more drawings needed than for a design patent.

Whether it is a simple or complex invention or idea matters.

As you might expect the simpler the invention the simpler it is to write and prosecute. Simpler is not less import or less valuable, it is just less expensive to patent than complex. Simple is less expensive because there are fewer moving parts and elements.

For utility patents the description includes a full disclosure of how to make and use the invention. For design patents the description is a few sentences about what it is. The more complex the invention the more complex it is to write about and draw about.

More complicated patents not only require more time and effort on the written parts, but can also require much more time and effort when it comes the the drawings. Simpler requires less words to describe and fewer illustrations to convey.

More complex patents need more complex descriptions and drawings that require more time and coordination and thus they cost more to get.

Whether you want to protect your invention in the US only or Internationally matters.

Here at Carson Patents there is little or no difference in cost to write a patent application for the US or internationally. There is a big difference in the government filing fees.

US only patents cost less. This is because you are only seeking protection over the making, using, and selling of your invention in the United States.

International patents cost more. This is because the international application only does not seek protection in any country. Seeking patents in the various patenting offices around the world requires fees for each office or country where protection is sought.

Contact us to discuss your opinions and how to keep costs low.

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Patent Agent Legal Services

Patent Agent Legal Services? When it comes to legal rights, in pertinent part, property rights, there are licensed professionals who offer help in exercising or protecting your rights. Lawyers. For patents there are patent practitioners (agent or attorney) to deal with these special rights.

Patents are Intellectual Property and need a Patent Practitioner not an Attorney:

Patents are a kind of property, specifically intellectual property. A patent, the legal right claimed under Article I, Section 8, Clause 8 of the US Constitution. A patent is the right to prevent others from making, using, or selling your invention. Property rights are your rights to enforce. You can do this yourself, but usually it is far more effective and efficient to hire a professional as the patent laws are complex and detailed.  An improperly filed and/or drafted patent application may prevent you from asserting your rights against potential infringers. 

The professionals that deal with personal property, real property, and intellectual property are lawyers, with one exception. Among the bundle of intellectual property rights are  patents. The USPTO issues patents, and registers professionals to practice before the office. Being a lawyer does not permit them to practice before the USPTO. Registration requires a separate application and examination process. To be allowed to communicate with the USPTO (“prosecute”) on a client’s behalf regarding a patent, an attorney needs to take an additional bar exam.

Patents need a Patent Agent or Patent Attorney:

Only those licensed to practice before the USPTO can prosecute a patent. Only patent practitioners (patent agents and patent attorneys) can prosecute patents; non-patent attorneys cannot. Whether a patent practitioner is agent or attorney is determined by whether they are a member in good standing of some state’s legal bar. In other words a lawyer. Thus, while patent agents prosecute only patents, patent attorneys can also prosecute other legal rights. 

Patent agents are not authorized or licensed to give legal advice in general. With that said, the US Supreme Court has held that patent agent activities incident to the preparation and prosecution of patent applications, even beyond the representation before the USPTO, like advising on potential patentability of an invention is permitted.

Patent agents can give legal advice during the drafting and prosecution of patent applications. However, this is not open ended. The usual forms of this legal advice are opinions on prior art, novelty, patentability, patent validity, and infringement. Patent agents can help with ownership and licensing by clearing up legal misconceptions about patents and recording assignments. Patent agents can also handle reexamination proceedings before the USPTO if the prior art shows that the claims should be narrowed or cancelled. 

For stuff like Infringement Lawsuits, you need an Attorney:

However, for some patent related matters like lawsuits for infringement, assignments, or employer/employee rights, you should discuss these things with an attorney who specializes in that area. Your best attorney choice may not be a patent attorney. I maintain relationships with attorneys I trust should you need to engage an attorney and need a referral.

Communication with a Patent Agent is Confidential (i.e. covered by client controlled privilege):

The advice and interaction with a patent agent is covered by the same confidentiality standard as an attorney. Client communication is held in confidence and is protected under privilege. Patent agents hold the same basic professional liability insurance as that held by attorneys, just limited to the practice of patent prosecution. 

Patent Services by Gregory D Carson, USPTO Registered Patent Agent

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Patenting Software

Patenting Software

Can software be patented? Patenting software, is the same as patenting anything else, and, it can all be done online from the comfort of your home or workshop. The complex nature of the requirements means you might want professional help. Only patent attorneys and agents can help with patenting software. So, check to be sure your help is a licensed patent practitioner.

Software Patents are regular patents. They need all the usual information and materials. They must meet all the usual criteria for patenting. In particular, software patent applications need extra focus and attention given to three things. Firstly, good flowcharts showing each step of the process. Secondly, detailed descriptions of the code (algorithms). Thirdly, a good explanation of how the software works with the hardware or machine.

The first step is to determine what is the core of your innovation. How does the software interact with the hardware? How does the software process data? Is it a method? A system? An apparatus? A network? Is it the processing of data or perhaps even the software itself?

Basic Requirements to Patenting Software.

What are the basic requirements to be eligible for patent protection?

There are five criteria. Firstly, the invention must consist of patent eligible subject matter. Secondly, it must be novel (new). Thirdly, the invention must be useful. Fourthly, it must be non-obvious (i.e. involve an inventive step). Lastly, the disclosure of the invention must meet the formal and substantive requirements.

What is patent eligible subject matter?

Patent eligible subject matter is a claim to a new process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter.

Unless the claims recite elements that are significantly more the claims cannot be directed to these three things. Firstly, laws of nature. Secondly, natural phenomenon. Lastly, abstract ideas.

Frequently, the opinion of a patent practitioner is very helpful in making this determination.

What is novelty?

An invention seeking patent protection must be new. In software patenting there is a general guideline for what is new. If it has been done by hand it is not new.

In other words, if the software is doing something that has been done by hand it is not patentable.

This particular idea gets in the way of a lot of software patenting applications. Seek professional patent practitioner consultation if this is not clear.

What is useful?

An invention must be useful. A practical purpose. Something not illegal.

What is non-obvious?

The invention must not be obvious to a person having usual skill in the art at the time of filing. If it has been done by hand it is obvious to create software to do it.

What are the disclosure requirements?

There are both formal and substantive requirements to file for patent protection. Generally you will need to disclose everything necessary to implement your invention. Specifically, for software patents there are some disclosure areas to focus on. Getting good flowcharts, descriptions, and explanations in the initial application is essential. We highly recommend professional help with patent drafting and filing.

Software patent applications need extra focus and attention given to three things. Firstly, good flowcharts showing each step of the process. Secondly, detailed descriptions of the code (algorithms). Thirdly, a good explanation of how the software works with the hardware or machine.

Software Patentability Requirements Are Not The Same in All Countries.

A patent granted on one country can only be enforced in that country. So, if you want protection for your invention abroad, you will need to obtain a patent in each country in which you want protection. The Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) offers an international filing system. With a PCT, the applicant can submit a single application to all member countries. A PCT has the same effect as filing national applications in each of the member countries. Most countries are members.

The laws and practices for seeking a patent differ from one country or region to another. Here is an example. The European Patent Convention expressly excludes computer programs per se and methods of doing business per se. But, the United States has no specific exclusion.

Consult a Patent Attorney or Agent when Patenting Software.

We recommend you don’t try patenting your software yourself. Keep in mind that you are the expert on your software. Coming up with a good new invention is your thing. Drafting a good patent application is our thing. Carson Patents offers all of our services for patenting software online.

Good patent application drafting is very important – for at least these two reasons. Firstly, once filed, making amendments to the description is difficult. Amendments are generally viewed as new matter, and new matter is not allowed. Note: any revision in claims must be supported by the original specification. So, it is important to be complete and accurate the first time. And secondly, getting a software patent requires appropriate claim construction. There are many proper claim construction rules. Claim construction often requires professional help.

There is a cost to professional help. However, the benefits in seeking patent protection are usually well worth it.


Disclaimer, nothing in this article constitutes legal advice.


Patenting Software Online Remember only patent attorneys and agents can help with patenting software or anything else.

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