How much does a patent cost?
It depends! Patent cost varies based on, among other things, the type of patent application (provisional utility, non-provisional utility, design); complexity of the inventive subject matter; number of embodiments (pages of description, number of drawings); whether the patent will be filed in the U.S. only, or other countries abroad.
While costs vary widely, here is a general idea of what to expect:
A patentability search generally costs between $300.00 and $1,000.00 (search firm fees), plus attorney time to review and provide an opinion based on the prior art documents uncovered in the search. You might spend between $600.00 to $2800 total on a patentability search and legal opinion, depending on how in-depth of a search you desire, and how much time is required to review the documents uncovered.
The USPTO does not require patent applicants to search the prior art.
PROVISIONAL PATENT APPLICATION
Most provisional patent applications will cost on the order of $450 to $1,800.00 in legal fees; plus about $70-$140 in USPTO fees (micro/ small entity, respectively). Therefore, you can expect to spend about $520.00 to $1,940.00 to have a provisional patent application prepared and filed with the USPTO. For this cost, your attorney will discuss the invention with the inventors, determine the key features that are believed to be novel / patentable, and prepare a disclosure that describes these features. The corresponding written description and drawings are generally not suitable for filing as a non-provisional application, but will contain enough material to support a more formal written description and drawings of a subsequently-filed non-provisional application.
Sometimes, we might advise to prepare a formal written description and drawings, as if it were a non-provisional utility patent application, but file as a provisional in order to obtain one or more provisional application -related benefits. If this is the case, see cost of non-provisional utility patent application and add the provisional filing fees; i.e. $3,670.00 to $7,340.00.
While a provisional patent application is often recommended, it is not required and is optional.
NON-PROVISIONAL UTILITY PATENT APPLICATION
As mentioned above, the cost associated with preparing and filing a non-provisional patent application varies and depends on many factors. We generally offer a flat-fee in the range of $3,600.00 to $7,200.00 to prepare the application documents.
USPTO fees are generally $430.00 to $785.00 (micro / small entity, respectively), but can be more.
Therefore, you can expect to spend about $4,030.00 to $7,985.00 to have a non-provisional patent application prepared and filed with the USPTO.
After filing the application, there are additional costs for prosecuting the application to allowance.
There is simply no way to predict what will happen during examination / prosecution of your patent application. For example, all of your claims may be allowed in a first action allowance, all of your claims may be refused in a first office action refusal, or some claims may be allowed and some refused (probably most common). We may need to appeal a decision of the Examiner if we believe the Examiner is wrong about something (law or fact)!
Based on over 750 patent applications, we average 1 office action response before receiving some allowable subject matter. However, we advise all clients to budget for two office action responses @ $1,800.00 each.
Total, we advise a budget of $3,600.00 for prosecution-related costs. In reality it is often more or less, but this is a solid goal.
FINAL DISPOSITION & ISSUE FEES
Once we receive a Notice of Allowance, we then review the case file wrapper to ensure completeness, update assignment if required, inquire about and revise entity status if required, review for any defects which may be corrected prior to issuance, prepare and submit issue fee transmittal forms and issue fees. Most applicants should budget about $750 legal fees plus $250 - $500 USPTO Issue Fees.
Total, we advise a budget of $1,000.00 - $1,250.00 for final disposition and issue fees.
USPTO MAINTENANCE FEES
To keep your patent in force, the USPTO requires payment of maintenance fees every 4 years or thereabout after the patent is issued. These fees change about once a year. Current estimates are provided as $400 / $800 (4 years); $900 / 1800 (8 years); and $1850 / $3700 (12 years), based on Micro Entity / Small Entity status.