Facts about Patent Costs
Many people say that “nothing is free” these days. This saying also applies to the patent process, which is anything but free. A patent is a government-issued license that gives you the sole rights to make, sell or use a product of your own invention; forbidding others from doing the same. There is a designated time period on a patent, normally for a length of 20 years.
Without going through the steps to obtain a patent, you risk having another party steal your idea and therefore enjoying the profits and recognition with a product similar to your own.
Although the fees for a patent may seem high, an inventor must be willing to front these patent costs to protect themselves and their rights to their own invention. When you think about the success and royalties you can gain from sharing your idea with the world, the costs seem minimal.
Going through the process and putting forth both the effort and fees are well worth it to see the product of your own creation hit the market.
Registering your idea early could be vital to keeping your rights. Sometimes it’s a race to the patent office, as was the case with the telephone with two patents being filed the very same day. Do you even know the name of the OTHER guy?
Don’t miss out on your chance by neglecting to get your patent. Take action as soon as possible. If you’re feeling overwhelmed with the details and bogged down in the requirements or calculating the potential financial investment for obtaining a patent, keep reading for some guidance and tips.
Patent Costs: Making Your Invention
One of the first patent costs an inventor may incur is for materials needed to build a prototype of their invention. Although it is not required, having a working prototype is a definite advantage because it proves that the inventor’s idea is in fact feasible and not simply a drawing on scratch paper. You also benefit from creating a prototype to work out issues and identify areas where you need to improve. This way, your product is fully developed and tested, so you can be confident that your idea has the potential to be a success.
Patent Costs: Hiring Professional Help
It is highly recommended that an inventor invests in hiring professional help to assist them throughout the patent process. Dealing with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) can be difficult for someone who has no experience. The requirements for obtaining a patent are stringent to ensure the legal accuracy of intellectual property being patented. An experienced patent attorney is used to dealing with the USPTO and can help the process go much more easily.
A knowledgeable patent attorney will conduct the research needed to ensure that no other patent has been issued for a similar invention. You can waste thousands of dollars going through the patent process just to find out that your idea has already been discovered and acted upon. Attorney fees for the patent process, including extensive research, can range anywhere from $5,000 for simple invention, to more than $16,000.
Patent Costs: Application Fees
There are different application costs depending upon the patent you seek. There are four types of patents:
- A utility patent is for all inventions that have a specific function
- Design patents cover non-functional parts
- Plant patents are for all types of vegetation that has been discovered and then successfully reproduced
- Software patents are, of course, used for new software programs and applications
According to the USPTO’s website, the basic filing fee for a utility patent application is $330, which is the most expensive of the three types. In addition to the basic filing fee, there are usually many other fees for such reasons as extra claims, search fees, examination fees, and more. The number and types of fees that you will be responsible for paying depend upon your individual situation. Your patent attorney can help you navigate through the process and help you understand which fees you are responsible for paying.
Patent Costs: Small Entity Status
Fortunately, there are various categories of patent fees, and smaller entities can expect to pay lower costs. As long as small entity status is claimed on the application, the USPTO will cut the fees in half if the applicant qualifies. You can be considered a small entity if you meet the following criteria:
- Small businesses with 500 or fewer employees
- Work for a non-profit or university
You may quality for a further reduction in patent fees if you are considered to be a micro entity. These individuals must meet the qualifications of a small entity as well as these additional requirements:
- Not names on more than four patents as an inventor
- Receive the majority of your income from an Institution of Higher Learning
It is worth the additional effort of documenting that you qualify for one of these considerations to save yourself quite a bit of money in fees.
Patent Costs: Receiving a Patent for your Invention
Once the application process is finished and a patent is granted, the issue fee ranges from $860-$1,510, depending on the type of patent, and a $300 publication fee must be paid. An inventor should also be aware of patent maintenance fees that are to be paid every few years so that the patent remains in force. In the end, each patent’s costs vary greatly. Working with a professional will help you to estimate these costs from the beginning of the project.
Protect your intellectual property from being stolen by obtaining the appropriate patent. Once secured, you will enjoy full rights to your invention and you alone can profit from your hard work.