As an inventor, one of the first things to consider when protecting your invention is filing for a patent. The cost of patents varies for every creation, idea, concept, and product. One of the biggest factors that influences the cost of a patent is legal fees. Legal fees for patents greatly depend on the amount of paid time spent on your application procedure, as well as the experience of the attorney.
In this article, we will dive into five other factors that make a difference in the cost of your patent.
Type of Patent Applications
Preparing and filing a provisional application to get a filing date for your invention normally hovers around $1,000 – $1,500 – depending on how much editing your attorney will need to do. Reminder: a provisional application is not examined by the USPTO, and does not need to include all of the formal requirements of a nonprovisional application. If you do not convert your provisional application to a nonprovisional within a year, you will lose your all-important filing date, and will need to refile and start all over. Depending on the complexity of your application, a nonprovisional application costs about $8,000-$15,000 to prepare and file (before any office actions, discussed below).
Not paying maintenance fees renders your patent invalid, as you are essentially indicating that you have abandoned it. In total, you should expect to pay between $14,000-$15,000 in maintenance fees, depending on whether you qualify as a small entity, micro entity, or a large entity.
Design patents that protect aesthetic appearances are almost always less expensive than utility patents, which protect functions and features. Design patents (typically involving drawings and designs) usually cost around $2,000-$3,500. Utility patents range from $20,000-$50,000 (including maintenance fees that provide for over 20 years of enforcement). Again, these fees vary depending on your status as a small or micro entity.
Geographic Scope of Protection
An important consideration all inventors must factor in when filing a patent is the geographic scope of protection: do you want your patent to apply just domestically or also internationally? If you anticipate doing commerce overseas in the future, it’s best to file for foreign patent protection through an international application (PCT). Separate applications have to be filed for each country, which can significantly increase the costs associated with securing your patent.
On average, most patents require between $30,000-$50,000 per country for the lifetime of the patent. Keep in mind that these costs will increase if you are filing for more than one patent.
Technical Scope and Complexity of Invention
The more complex your product, the more time has to be spent on the application. More substantial details and documentation have to be submitted, which increases the time of preparation and verification.
A cost-effective solution can be to combine several related inventions into one patent application. Thereafter, you’ll probably get a restriction requirement to “pick one” of the inventions; and thereafter you can decide if you wish to keep pursuing other aspects of the invention with “continuation” or “continuation in part” applications. Consider consulting an experienced patent attorney to evaluate the best strategy for you.
The Extent of the Patent Search
While some inventors choose to conduct their own patent searches with free public resources like the USPTO’s patent database system, hiring a patent lawyer is the best way to ensure the search is thorough and comprehensive. An experienced patent lawyer will have the expertise and resources to conduct deeper searches to sieve out products with potential similarities that may challenge your patent process.
The price of this service varies based on its scope, the complexity of your creation, the experience of your attorney, and your industry. On average, patent search services with patent attorneys run between $2,000-$3,000.
Fighting USPTO Actions
An office action is an official report sent by the USPTO that involves an examining lawyer breaking down the legal issues with your patent and your application form. Your patent will only be approved if all legal issues are resolved satisfactorily. Such changes could be simple revisions and clarifications, but they could also be major legal conflicts that need to be resolved by a patent lawyer. Depending on the extent of each conflict uncovered by the USPTO, this may cost anywhere from $2,000 to $7,000.
If you’re looking to discuss filing a patent and need legal assistance, please do not hesitate to contact TBillick Law PLLC today! Give us a call at (206) 494-0020.