What is the cost of a patent?

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You have an idea, researched ways to put a plan into action, and have created a product to prove this invention is one that could improve the world for generations to come. You’ve spent hours researching how to file a patent application. However, you started to notice every website is telling you that you need a lawyer, and there’s a fee for almost every part of the application process. You begin to wonder what is the cost of a patent.

Cost of a patent

The short answer is that it’s not cheap. A proper patent application can go anywhere from $900-$15,000. The price could be more, depending on the type of patent you need. They say a person that represents themselves has a fool for a client. In most cases, to do it right, you will probably need a good patent attorney.

As you already know, lawyers can be expensive. If you have any mistakes on your patent application, not only could it get rejected by the United States Patent and Trademark Office, but it could cost you more unnecessary fees as a result. It’s a lot to take in, but don’t be overwhelmed!

The United States Patent and Trademark Office has a list of fees needed to get a patent. These costs get revised every year. All over the internet, patent lawyers are willing to give you legal advice for a price. By the end of this article, you will know the real costs of filing a patent application correctly. You will know all of the fees you need to pay during the application process and what fees you can avoid. You’ll also see the cost to maintain and reissue your patent, should it expire in the future.

Now, there are ways to cut down on expenses. There are a lot of fees you can avoid in the application process. It depends on what you think the best decision is to make sure you end up with a patent. Here are some ways you can end up with a cheaper patent bill.

Patent lawyers

You don’t always need a patent lawyer if you don’t want to have one, but they can help make your patent more valuable. However, you need to make sure you’re well-versed in the patent process before you can consider doing it yourself. Patent lawyers are there to help you make sure you are applying the first time correctly. If you have a patent lawyer by the time a patent examiner sees your request, the examiner will only talk to the lawyer on your behalf.

If you go without a lawyer, you’ll save money, but you have to be confident in your abilities. There are a lot of social networks where people and companies write about what they’re doing. You can google academic papers to make sure your idea is original. You can save thousands of dollars by doing a google and patent search first. 

The average patent lawyer charges $225.00 per hour when working with their clients. You will incur charges every time the lawyer goes through the application with you, prepares any documents, and every time they talk to the patent examiner. There are also other fees charged by attorneys, including research, assistants, and office fees. By the time the lawyer’s work is done, you’ll have spent thousands of dollars hiring them to help you. 

Provisional Patent Application

The United States Patent and Trademark Office is set up on a first-come, first-serve basis. It doesn’t matter if you’re the first person to come up with an idea or invent a product. You have to be the first person to file to get credit and the protection of a patent.

With a Provisional Patent Application, you can take extra time to research your invention without worrying about someone stealing your idea. For twelve months after you apply for a PPA, you can do your research in secret. A Provisional Patent Application, unlike a regular patent application, is not a publically viewable document. The provisional application remains in a sealed envelope waiting for you to file a final non-provisional application. It’s extra protection as you’re researching what works and what doesn’t work with your product. After a year, you must transition it to a regular patent application, or your idea gets abandoned.

Provisional Patent Costs

A Provisional Patent Application costs between $65- $260. During that year, no one in the USPTO office will look at your application, so you never have to worry about your ideas going public. The price depends on the size of your project. Now you have the extra time to make improvements and test your product out in secret before you fill out the actual patent application. Under the terms of a provisional patent, you are not able to disclose the details of your invention. You can only do that once you have filed your non-provisional patent application. Provisional applications are not patent filings by any means. They are just a way to prove that you were the first person to file the invention with the patent office.

During your research, if you find that either your idea is already taken or no one is in the market for your product, you can walk away. You’ll lose potentially two hundred dollars, but that’s better than losing thousands if you jumped into the patent application. Also, you can save yourself a lot of time if you find that your idea is too weak in the market. Plus, it has a beautiful ring in your ears to say your product is patent pending. 

eFiling your patent

Every day, the world uses less paper for applications and encourages more digital certificates. The United States Patent and Trademark Office is another example of why it’s better to go digital than it is to use traditional paper applications. 

If you filed your patent application using fax or mail, the USPTO would add a $200 fee to your request. That’s a lot of money to spend to keep things traditional. Instead, you can go on the USPTO website where you can register and put your application online. You will receive a Customer Number with a Digital Certificate. After that, your claim awaits the review process. 

Type of patents

In your patent research, you’ll find there are three different types of patents: Utility, Design, and Plant. When your patent application gets filed, you will be put in touch with a patent examiner. Depending on the type of patent you have, the examination fee can vary. 

  • Utility patent: approximately $220.
  • Design patent examination fees: approximately $170.
  • Plant patent examination fees: approximately $170.

A Plant patent application is the least common of the three. The fees for the application alone are anywhere from 360-720 dollars. With the cost of the examination fee, legal fees, and all other expenses you could encounter during the application process, you could be spending anywhere from $4500-$7500 to obtain your Plant Patent. These types of patents are not really of interest to most inventors.

A Design patent only handles the look of the invention. For example, this could be specific clothing designs, pill designs, or the styling of your product. If someone improves the look of a hammer and wants to get that patent, that would be a Design patent. If someone wanted to add a blade at the bottom of the hammer so they could cut as they hammered, then that would be considered both a Utility and Design patent. Of all of the different patent types, the Design patent is the cheapest. Including legal fees and examination fees, the cost would be anywhere from $2,500-$3,000.

A Utility Patent is the most common and most expensive of all the different patent applications. This is the type of patent most people think of when filing for a patent application. Traditionally, these applications can be as low as $900, but depending on how big the project is, it could get as high as $15,000or more. 

Patent Trial and Appeal Board

Over 90% of all patent applications get rejected the first time they go through the application process. If your patent application gets denied a second time, you can go to the Patent Trial and Appeal Board. 

A denial could cost an applicant thousands of dollars. Depending on the size of the patent, and if it escalates to an oral hearing, it could go as high as $10,000 or more. Because of the cost, going to the Patent Trial and Appeal Board should be a last resort. 

Patent Maintenance and Reissues

Patents don’t last forever. Depending on what type of patent you have, it could expire within twenty years. The USPTO states that you need to pay maintenance fees three times during the life of your patent.

  • 3-3.5 years. $1,600
  • 7-7.5 years $3,600
  • 11-11.5 years $7,500

If your invention doesn’t prove to be profitable, you don’t have to pay it, and you can let it expire naturally. However, if your product becomes more valuable than you anticipated, it’s a good idea to pay the maintenance fees during the life of the patent. 

When a patent expires, that means you no longer own exclusive rights to a product. For example, if you don’t maintain the patent of the bladed hammer we discussed, the patent would expire. Anyone could make another version of the bladed hammer, and there would be no recourse for you as the original inventor. If you don’t want this to happen for at least twenty years, you need to keep paying the maintenance fees. 

If your patent expires before the twenty years are up, you do have the option to get the patent reinstated. If you can prove your nonpayments were unintentional, you can pay the fees upfront and reinstate the patent for another two years. However, if your competition started making a similar product after you let the patent expire, you might not be able to reinstate your patent. Make sure you maintain your payments, so you’re not losing even more money in the future. 

Length of the patent process 

The patent process is a slow one. The standard procedure takes one to three years, but there are accounts of the patent process lasting about ten years for some people. If you make mistakes, you could find yourself going to the Patent Trial and Appeal board. These errors could extend the process much longer than three years. 

There are ways to speed the process up. One way to do that is by making sure your application is filled out correctly before signing off on it. When you sign the form, you can’t go back and make any changes later. If this is your first time filling out the application, it’s a good idea to spend the extra money hiring a patent lawyer to make sure there are no mistakes when you send the patent off to the USPTO. 

Another way to speed up the process is to make sure you respond as soon as possible when your patent examiner tries to communicate with you. If you have a patent lawyer, the patent examiner will never speak with you directly. You will need to be timely in your communications with everyone involved.

After you’ve gone through the whole process and have your patent issued, you will have another twenty years of protection and to maintain your patent. Some types of patents will have a shorter lifespan.

The actual cost of a patent

A patent is an expensive investment and not many make money for the inventor. It costs a lot of your time as well as money. They’re good to have if you’re confident your product will change the world, but those chances are very slim. The amount of time and money you spend on your patent depends on how confident you are in your product and your knowledge of the patent process. 

As long as you have a plan of action set up for when you apply for your patent, the time and money you need won’t come as a shock to you. With the internet and Google, there are ways that you can save money on your patent so that you’re not going bankrupt in the long run. With the right amount of research before you start the application process, you will know the best moves to make with your patent and be able to make the best decisions that will save you time and money. You will thank yourself later.

At Invention Therapy, we believe that the best way to protect your invention idea is to build it and release it to the public for sale as a product. By doing this, you will drastically improve your chances of making money with your invention idea.

Are you ready to become an inventor?

Getting your idea out of your head and into your hands is only the first in a long set of steps towards becoming a successful inventor.

First Steps To A Successful Invention

At Invention Therapy, we believe that the power of the internet makes it easier than you think to turn your invention idea into a reality. In most cases, you can build a prototype and start manufacturing a product on your own. Changing your way of thinking can be difficult. Being an inventor requires you to balance your passion with the reality of having to sell your products for a profit. After all, if we can't make a profit, we won't be able to keep the lights on and continue to invent more amazing things!

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