One of the first questions a new inventor asks is usually “How Do I Patent My Invention?” and shortly after “How Much Will it Cost?”. In this article I will take a look at and attempt to answer the second question. I am by no means a patent attorney, but I am an inventor, and the patent costs stated in this article were correct at the time of publishing.
The cost of a patent varies and is mainly dependent on the cost of your patent attorney. However, if we are to take the average cost of a patent attorney into consideration, we can roughly calculate how much it will cost to patent an invention.
In The US
In the US an inventor can file a provisional patent application, which costs $130 to file. The provisional application needs to give a fair amount of data on the invention, but is not a regular patent application. It will give you a year to draft and file a more detailed regular patent application. With a provisional patent you can claim patent pending status as soon as you file it. The provisional patent will not shorten the length of your regular patent. The patent will still run for 20 years from the date your regular patent application is filed. You can read more about the benefits of provisional patents here.
You can use the date of your provisional patent application as your filing date for a regular patent application. This can become important in determining prior art. Prior art is any product or patent similar to yours, which is in the public domain. If any prior art shows up after your provisional filing date this will not affect your ability to have your patent granted.
The fees for a US regular utility patent are based on whether you are a small or a large entity. All independent inventors are small entities which is why the costs quoted here are for small entities. To file a US patent costs $140 (or $70 if filing electronically) as well as a following search fee of $300 and examination of $360. For a full list of fees, click here. If you fall into the category of Micro Entity, meaning you have not been named as the inventor or a joint inventor on more than 4 previous patent applications, the fees will be reduced further.
Additionally, the US has a design patent. The filing fee for a design patent is $90 as well as a subsequent search fee of $60 and an examination fee of $230.
Maintenance fees are due 3 ½ years following the filing date at a cost of $800, then again 7 ½ following the filing date at $1,800 and finally 11 ½ years following the filing date at $3,700.
There are no renewal fees payable for design patents.
On top of these fees you will have your patent attorney fees. These will be significant in the early stages when you are drafting the patent and making possible alterations to the patent. The attorney fees can range from $3000 for a very simple invention to $15,000 for a highly complex invention such as complex software systems or medical equipment. However there are ways of reducing the cost of a patent attorney, such as using crowd-sourcing to find an overseas patent attorney. For more information on how to reduce the cost of developing your product visit Home-Of-Inventors.
In the UK
The cost of filing a patent with the UK IPO (Intellectual Property Office) is £30 for the application, £30 for the examination and £150 for an initial search. The initial search has to be carried out within a year. After an initial examination, a substantive examination has to be carried out (within 18 months of filing your patent) at a cost of £100. Prices are however reduced if you choose e-filing instead of paper filing.
Your patent attorney will usually charge you £1500-£10.000 on top of the IPO fees to draft and file the application. As before the patent attorney fees will entirely depend on the complexity of your invention. It is also likely that you will have to make changes to your patent before it is grated, which can easily add another £2000 on top of your initial attorney fees. Patent attorneys in the UK usually charge £200 an hour. Thankfully patenting is a long process, which helps spread the cost. For more fees from IPO, click here .
In UK you will have to start paying renewal fees every year starting four years after the initial filing date. By then you should have been able to commercialise your patent. If you haven’t attracted interest by then, it is wise to reconsider whether it will be beneficial to keep the patent “alive”. The renewal fees for the UK increase every year, starting with £70 for the 5th year and increasing to £600 for the 20th. You can only hold your patent for 20 years. Following this time period your invention will be free for all to use.
Other European and non-European countries.
In most cases you can file your patent directly with the European Patent Office, without getting clearance from patent office in your resident country. This will give you protection in all EU member countries. The official fees are 210,00 euro for the application and £1.875,00 euro for the examination. On top of this you will have your patent attorney fees. The total cost of filing your patent in Europe is likely to be 4000-12.000 euro. On top of this you will need translation for non-English speaking countries, which will cost about 1000 euro per country. Of course you have the choice to deselect any non-English speaking countries if you, for whatever reason, feel they are not appropriate for your invention. For more fees from the European Patent Office, click here.
It is also possible to go straight to a world patent. This will reserve you a place in every country in the world for a certain period of time. After this period you have to file with either the European Patent Office or directly with any national patent offices of your choice. A world patent is called a PCT (Patent Cooperation Treaty). The PCT fees are $1,471 for the application and $2,545 for the search fee. The fees however vary. For more information on PCT fees, click here. With patent attorney costs on top, a PCT is likely to cost $10,000-$15,000.
Filing a patent directly in an English speaking non-European country such as Australia or New Zealand usually costs $1,500-$3000 (including attorney fees). If you need translation for any country, such as China, add another $1,500-$3000 to the cost.
The cost of a patent will always depend on how complex your invention is as well as how many changes you need to make to the patent after you file it. The patent attorney fees stated here, should be used only as a rough guide.
To find out how to cut the cost of patenting an invention visit us Here.
The above is an excerpt from “How To Turn Your Idea Into a Success Story”. The book is available as a free download on our site.