Kevin Mark Klughart

PhD, PE, JD, MIP, LLM

Patent Attorney / Engineer

 

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Patent Pricing

 

United States Patent Applications

One of the first pieces of information many inventors seek in their pursuit of patent protection is some idea of the cost of the process.  While inventions may run a wide range of variations in the cost of patent protection, the following guidelines will help inventors budget their financial resources in preparation for filing a patent application.  A very rough estimate of attorney costs and USPTO fees is as follows:

Patent Type

Specification Cost

Drafting Costs

Filing Fee

(small entity)

Issue Fee

(small entity)

Provisional

$1000 - $3000

~0 to $100-$150/sheet

~$150

N/A

Utility - Simple Mechanical

$2000 - $4000

$100-$150/sheet

$600

$1100

Utility - Electrical/Electronic

$4000 - $6000

$100-$150/sheet

$600

$1100

Utility - Software/Computer

$6000 - $10000

$100-$150/sheet

$600

$1100

Utility - Business Method

$10000 and up

$100-$150/sheet

$600

$1100

Design

$1000-$3000 

$100-$150/sheet

$300

$750

Notes

The filing fee and issue fee are determined by the USPTO and are adjusted annually based on inflation.  While the filing fee can be known exactly at the time the patent application is filed, the issue fee can only be approximated since there is no way to know exactly when the patent application will actually issue as a patent.  The issue fee is due once the patent is allowed and can only be paid at that point.
USPTO fees are subject to doubling for large entities - generally large corporations and the like.
Provisional Patent Applications are NOT examined by the USPTO, do not require formal drawings, and thus have substantial lower cost.  However, they MUST be followed within one year with a Utility Patent Application in order to perfect patent protection for the invention
Utility Patents that issue are subject to additional MAINTENANCE FEES due at 3.5, 7.5 and 11.5 years.  These small entity fees are currently approximately $500/$1300/$2100 respectively, but are adjusted annually for inflation.
There exists a $135 surcharge for every 50 sheets of a Provisional/Utility Patent Application in excess of 100 sheets.
The rates above assume a minimum claims complement of 3 independent claims with 20 claims total.  Currently excess independent claims are $110, with excess dependent claims costing $26 each.
The above table does not include the cost of responding to any OFFICE ACTIONS by the USPTO.  Generally these responses run somewhere between $1000-$6000 depending on the complexity of the issue being addressed.
All figures above are to be considered general estimate ranges for the Dallas/Ft. Worth area.  Other regions of the country will of course have different cost configurations.

International (PCT) Patent Applications

The above costing data is directed solely to United States Patent Applications.  Patent applications filed under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), often referred to as "international" patent applications operate under a different costing structure.  PCT patent applications are an improvement over the previous system in which inventors wishing to protect their inventions outside of the United States were required to file individual patent applications in each country in which protection was sought.

The PCT scheme is much simplified, and provides a mechanism in which ONE patent application is filed with the USPTO and this application is copied to the 100 or so countries which are members of the PCT.  As such, PCT patent applications provide for a significant economic benefit to the inventor because only one filing fee is required to file the initial patent application, no matter how many countries are the target of eventual patent protection.  Fees associated with each individual country can be delayed up to 30 months from the priority date referenced by the initial PCT application.

Please note that PCT patent applications have special formatting requirements, both in form and content of the specification as well as special considerations regarding drawing formats and timing of previous patent applications (Provisional and/or Utility Patent Applications).  These special considerations are too involved to completely describe in a web posing, so I encourage inventors who think they might want to pursue PCT filings to contact me or another patent attorney who has experience in this type of patent application.

The total outlay for a PCT patent prosecution can be substantial and will vary widely based on the technology art area, size, and complexity of the patent application.  In very rough terms, expect to spend $3000-$5000 for the PCT filing fee, approximately $8000 for attorney preparation, and $12000 per country to have the patent prosecuted by overseas counsel once the PCT patent application is filed and examination in the foreign country is required before the 30-month mark.  Additionally, note that if foreign translations are required, this cost generally runs on the order of $8000/application.  While the cost of overseas prosecution varies widely based on the country, the following 1997 chart (while somewhat dated) does provide some idea of the relative cost per country for PCT prosecutions.

As can be seen from this chart, to fully protect an invention over all international avenues is extremely expensive, and generally beyond the financial means of most inventors.  However, note that the PCT patent application, if filed within one year of the first U.S. priority date (whether Provisional or Utility) does secure the RIGHT to file in these overseas venues if done within 30 months of the first priority date.  This can be extremely useful in situations where the inventor may want to sell or license the overseas rights in the invention to other entities which have a commercial presence overseas.  Thus, the PCT patent application can be a cost effective methodology to stake out patent territory overseas for later sale or license.

A Note on Billing

My policy on billing varies somewhat from most patent practitioners.  I DO NOT TAKE MONEY IN ADVANCE OF WORK PERFORMED.   Therefore, in contrast to most practitioners, I don't take retainers.  My standard billing practice is tot bill NET 30 after filing of the patent application, meaning I invoice at the time the patent application is filed (or the work is performed) and expect payment within 30 days of the invoice date.

 

Contact Information:

Kevin Mark Klughart

Registered Patent Attorney, USPTO

3825 Leisure Lane, Denton, TX 76210-5589

tel: 800-353-1211 / 940-320-0580  -  fax 940-320-0581

Kevin@Klughart.com   email  -  web    www.Klughart.com

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