If you are considering patenting your idea, you are probably wondering how much it will cost. Asking how much a patent cost is a lot like asking “How much does a house cost?” It all depends on the house. Although there is a patent application process that you must follow, there are complexities that can make the cost vary dramatically depending on the individual situation.
Will you be using a patent attorney, or going through the application process yourself? While most patent applications can be filed without the help of an attorney, if you run into complications hiring a patent lawyer can easily add several thousand dollars to the cost of filing. The cost for filing a patent with the assistance of a patent lawyer is usually around $10,000 to $20,000. However, if you’re able to file it yourself, you can save yourself a lot of money on the patenting process.
Regardless of how you file, there are some basic fees charged by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Though the fees change every few years, the baseline costs for an individual inventor (as opposed to a large corporation or other entity) include $165 for the filing fee, $270 for a patent search, and $110 for the USPTO examination fee. These fees are non-refundable, even if your application is denied. In all, it will cost you $545 to submit the application for your patent, although these fees do not reflect all of the possible variations in filing a patent application.
According to US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), the fees for filing a patent depend on the type of patent application. The above fees cover a non-provisional patent application. If you decide to file a provisional application instead, the application fees will run you about $110 instead of $545.
If your patent application is accepted, you will then need to have the patent issued. The USPTO charges $755 for this service. When this is included, the total fee charged by the USPTO is $1,300. There are also maintenance fees, which are paid to maintain the legal protection granted by the patent. These are due at 3 ½, 7 ½, and 11 ½ years after the patent is granted, and are approximately $490, $1,240, and $2,055, respectively.
There are additional costs that may become necessary during this process. Your patent application must include detailed drawings; if you don’t have the skills to create these drawings yourself, you may need to hire someone. These drawings will cost several hundred dollars, at minimum, depending on their complexity.
The cost of filing a patent also depends on the technology involved. When applying for a patent, you must prove that your invention is ‘unique’ compared to other patents that were previously filed, which are known as ‘prior art.’ If there have been many patents issued that cover ideas similar to the invention you wish to patent, you may need to consult with experts, making the patenting process more expensive.
How much your patent application will cost you depends on what you are patenting and how you plan to use the patent. While the process can be expensive, many inventors find it to be well worth the cost, given the many benefits that can come from being granted a patent.