How Much Does A Patent Cost?

Neil E. Montgomery Inventor Education 1 Comment

In working and being around inventors for the past 20 years, the most common question that every inventor wants to know right away of course is: How much does a Patent cost?

This is a completely reasonable question because you know that you have a great idea, spent time to develop it, and think you are ready to pursue a patent… but at what cost? If you’ve ever tried to research the patent price range online, you likely got discouraged after 3 or 4 Google results pages telling you “well, it depends.” Don’t give up just yet. This article will help you learn about the details of patent pricing, whether DIY patents are worth the effort, how to choose the best patent type for your needs and what you can do to prepare and save on patent expenses.

With the wide range of patent options out there, please share any feedback, thoughts or experiences you have had with patenting to shine more light on this topic.


“So, How Much Does a Patent Cost?”

At the most recent Hardware Show in Las Vegas, I asked several inventors who were exhibiting if they got a patent on their invention and if they wouldn’t mind sharing what they spent for it.  Interestingly, everybody I talked with did get patent protection for their product.  Even more interesting, nobody was even close to each other when it came to cost.  The range went from $400 all the way to over $20,000.  How is this even possible you’re probably asking?  Me too.  Hopefully the rest of this article helps give you some perspective as to why there can be such significant differences in price when it comes to patents.

One thing is for sure, Americans absolutely want to know the answer to this question as the Google search phrase “How much does a X cost?” reveals that the thing we Americans want to know the price of more than anything in the known universe is what is the cost of a patent. Comparing us with the rest of the world, other countries are much more interested in the price of camels, funerals, houses, and even beer than what the average cost of a patent will set them back. This speaks volumes about where we are as a nation versus under-developed countries who are still concerned about basic life necessities.

The best way I know to answer this question properly in broad terms is by revealing the median results of the American Intellectual Property Law Association (AIPLA) 2013 Report of the Economic Survey. (The AIPLA is an association of attorneys specializing in patent law.) This is a report where the AIPLA combines and averages the prices of various sized intellectual property firms across the country who provided their charges for the items listed below:

patentPricesB-02As you can see, simply getting started with the patent process utilizing the services of an IP attorney requires a significant investment for the average individual in the United States. The biggest contributing factor is that the mean cost per hour of a patent attorney is $330, per the AIPLA, and some fees can go as high as $600 or more per hour. Your invention’s complexity, patent type requested, and which firm you choose will directly affect the amount you’re charged for patent services. All of these charges are only for the services of a licensed patent professional and do not include any government fees.

To put patent costs in perspective, consider the average price of other common purchases:

New car purchase: $33,500


New furnace with installation: $3,000


New home: $300,000


One year of college: $20,000


New wardrobe: $1,500


Wedding: $31,500


Total patent price: $5,000 – $10,000 or more


On the low end, filing a patent application typically costs less than a wedding or a new car. Multiple factors affect the patent price range, and learning what they are can help you choose where your money is best spent.


More Complex Equals More Cost

Patent complexity vs cost


How to Save Money Navigating the Patent Price Range

Whether you’re creating a new software program or a physical product, understanding how the patent process works and the costs associated with it is the best way to choose which option is right for you. The factors listed below directly affect the patent price range. The more detailed information that you can provide for any of these steps would reduce the time needed to prepare your application which should directly affect your cost (as long as you’re being billed hourly).

  • Type of patent application and scope. The total cost of a patent is affected by the type of patent filed and its scope. A provisional patent application may cost less than a nonprovisional patent, but only initially as much more research and preparation are required before the latter must be filed. Also, if your invention would benefit from international protection, you may need to file an international patent application, otherwise known as a Patent Cooperative Treaty (PCT) patent application, versus U.S. only. Filing a PCT patent application involves more in-depth research, substantial government filing fees and more attorney costs which will ultimately be thousands of more dollars for your patent protection.
  • Patent search with opinion. Performing a patent search on your own is always a good first step, but obtaining a patent search with opinion of patentability by a licensed practitioner acts as insurance for you as you decide whether to pursue patent protection. In fact, the USPTO (in this less than easy to understand flowchart) recommends starting with a Patent Search before moving forward with the patent process.
  • Government Fees and Entity Status. The majority of individual inventors are considered a micro entity when applying for patents which saves them 75% on government fees vs large entities that are mainly for-profit brands or those with multiple patents. To qualify for micro-entity status, an inventor, among other things, needs to earn less than 3X the median household income which is roughly $155,000 as of the time of this writing. Inventors earning more than that amount still get a discount of about 50% vs. large entity inventors. To put this in perspective, a micro entity’s filing fee for a non-provisional utility patent is $400, a small entity is $730 and $1600 for large entities. To learn more about micro entity income requirements, check out the USPTO website here. Here is a link to all of the various Government fees by the USPTO that may or may not apply to your situation.
  • Complexity of the invention. Varying degrees of complexity exist when evaluating an invention. For example, filing a patent for an extremely simple invention, such as a coat hanger, will be less expensive than performing the same process for a complex diagnostic device or software program. As the complexity of your invention increases, so will the cost to obtain a patent.
  • Engineering Specification. Your patent needs to be written with enough detail so that someone skilled in the field of your invention can simply take your patent and go make your invention. Because the patent requires this level of specific information, an engineer will often be needed to draft the specification for the patent to satisfy this requirement. Again, the complexity of the invention really affects how much more or less “engineering” will be needed.
  • Patent Drawings. In the United States, patent drawings are required to be filed with your application in order to fully understand the invention. Since design patents protect how a product looks, 6 drawings or more are usually needed in order to see the invention from all sides. Depending again on the size and complexity of the invention, more or less drawings will be needed in order to fully illustrate what the invention looks like and does.
  • Attorney involvement. Because attorney fees are generally the bulk of patent costs, some inventors consider omitting legal help altogether. When compared with the initial costs of DIY patents, traditional patents involving an attorney will involve more expense. However, because intellectual property attorneys have in-depth knowledge of the patent application process and know how to professionally prepare an appropriate application, you can rest easy knowing you’re legally protected. Like everything else in life, you do get what you pay for when it comes to patenting.

Though not the end-all list of all patent costs, the above factors play a large role in determining what you’ll ultimately pay to apply for a patent.

DIY Patents: Are They Right for You?

As mentioned previously, it is possible to search for patents and complete the application yourself. Some inventors feel that they are the best person to explain the technical aspects of an invention anyway, so why pay someone else? Before choosing this option, consider the drawbacks of DIY patents.

  • Nailing the claims section. Though most inventors believe the technical aspect of their invention is the most important when filing a patent application, professionals know it’s truly the claims section that carries the bulk of legal weight. Failure to complete this section properly leaves inventors and their creations vulnerable in matters of infringement and validity ultimately costing the inventor everything.
  • Mastering legal language. For those without a legal background, legalese seems like an entirely new language. If patent applications aren’t filed with meticulous attention to every word therein, inventors ultimately suffer the consequences when their application is reviewed with a fine-tooth comb.
  • Post-filing risks. Completing a patent application is intended to uncover similar patents, pending lawsuits or litigation involving other inventions, and bring other agreements and contracts to light. If information is missing or incomplete once reviewed by a patent officer, your patented invention may not have enough legal weight to prosecute claims against similar products.

Filing a patent application yourself might avoid steep attorney fees in the beginning, but will most likely not offer you any real protection. In the event of litigation, a self-filed patent is at risk of severe scrutiny by any legal entity and may not hold its weight if a similar invention comes along. If the invention is as good as you think it is, you should expect copycats to hit the market soon after launch. For inventors, this could mean loss of equity in their invention and inability to access legal recourse should a competitor enter the market.

Are Patents Worth The Cost?

This can really only be determined by the inventor. Nobody is going to hold a gun to your head and force you to get a patent on your invention. Some inventors avoid the patent route altogether and just start marketing their invention. The major question you need to ask yourself is, “Would you mind someone else copying and profiting off of your invention idea for free?”

If that answer is yes, try to determine how much money you can generate from the patent and see if it covers your patenting cost.  That would be a good place to start. For some, success isn’t defined by money and getting an issued patent is on their bucket list? Use our patent calculator below to determine what the average cost is for your invention.

Choose Patents Wisely

It costs as much as you’re willing to put into it and offers a certain level of protection based on your chosen filing method. While DIY patents are an option, many inventors find that investing in a knowledgeable patent attorney or agent to handle the process is well worth the cost.

So, how much does a patent cost? As you can see, answering this question is very similar to answering the question, “How much does a house cost?” A one bedroom apartment in Flint, Michigan will fare way less than it would if it were moved to Beverly Hills, CA.

Unfortunately, the best answer really is… “It depends.”

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Neil E. MontgomeryHow Much Does A Patent Cost?

How to Become an Inventor, and How to Patent My Idea by Hiring a Professional.

Heather Kelleher How-To, Invention Ideas Leave a Comment

How To Become an Inventor

How to Become an Inventor

Have you ever wondered how to become an inventor? Are you ready to take your idea and make it something special that the world needs? You may want to create the next big thing, but you may be unsure where to start. On the other hand, you may want to learn how to become an inventor. If you want to learn how to patent your idea and achieve your goals, the first thing to do is to examine the best methods for doing so. In short, when you hire a professional, you will get exceptional service and incredible support throughout the process.

Find Your Inspiration: Patent My Idea

Patent My IdeaUltimately, many people strive to patent their idea. They have good ideas, but they lack the structure to pull it all together.
Consider a few tips on how to stand out and succeed in this diverse patent world.

First, look at the marketplace to notice what’s missing. What do you have to offer to solve a problem or achieve a goal? Is there something you struggle with daily that you wish you could have a simpler solution for? Consider the marketplace for this idea. Is there competition? Is someone else solving the problem already?

Consider what an existing product doesn’t do that it should. Sometimes, a basic product is in the marketplace, but it is missing some type of functionality or feature that would solve a problem or improve its usefulness. You could create something that resolves this lack of feature.

On the other hand, you may have an idea that is something no one has ever thought about before. You may have a novel idea that adds value to your life or solves a problem that someone else has. It is new, never thought about, and unique from other marketplace items.

Which area does your invention fall into? You may have an idea and even a prototype. You may have just a thought and you want to see what your options are. No matter what steps you take, you need to hire a professional.

Hiring a Professional to Help Patent My Idea is Important

Hiring a ProfessionalOnce you find the perfect idea or created an invention, do not apply for a patent directly. Rather, you need to work with a professional. Our team will work with your hand-in-hand throughout the patent process. It’s long, confusing, and often gives you just one chance to prove your idea or invention is unique enough to be your own. We’ll help you develop, patent, and market your idea so that you can achieve your goals.

When you work with our team, you’ll have your idea reviewed for free by our experts. We’ll help you to fully research your product or idea. Then, we’ll work with you to get it protected so no one else can profit from your idea.

You can learn how to become an inventor when you work with our skilled and experienced team. We’ll help you to take your raw, basic idea and to make it a profitable, successful invention. Are you ready to achieve your goals? Hiring a professional to assist you in the process of obtaining a patent is all you need to do in order to be successful .

 

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Heather KelleherHow to Become an Inventor, and How to Patent My Idea by Hiring a Professional.
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Cheap Patent

Heather Kelleher Patent and Trademark Thoughts, Patent, Trademark, Copyright Leave a Comment

Cheap Patent

patent applicationThis term is rather elusive as there is no such thing as a cheap patent. As with most things in life filing and obtaining a patent is not free and most would not find it cheap. This is not to hinder anyone’s hopes or desires in seeking a patent. It is to be used more as reference that anything worth obtaining never comes cheap. This is also not to say the United States Patent and Trademark Office has any hidden fees. All patent application and maintenance fees can be found on the USPTO website.

Filing a Utility Patent Application

The utility patent application is the most expensive of the three possible patents, the others being design and plant patents. The cost to file a basic utility patent application in the United States is $330 and independent claims will cost $220, as long as the claims do not exceed twenty. It is to be noted claims exceeding twenty will cost the inventor more.

Once the Application is Filed

After reviewing the utility patent application fees one might think there is such a thing as a cheap patent, as those costs are not staggering. However, an inventor must be made aware of other fees to follow the application. A utility search conducted by the USPTO will cost an inventor $540 and the application examination is $220. These fees are required, because the USPTO must insure that the patent does not already exist for the invention. Paying these fees does not ensure a patent will be granted.

The Application is a Success

If a utility patent is granted to the inventor a fee to issue the patent must then be paid. The cost to issue a utility patent is $1510. The patent wound then be recognized by the USPTO and a patent number would be given. In order for an inventor to continue to hold the rights to that patent maintenance fees must then be paid. An inventor that wants to maintain rights to their patent must pay fees at 3 1/2, 7 1/2 and 11 1/2 years.

Cheap Patent not so Much

As one can see cheap patents do ncheap patentot exist, but that is not to say it is not worth the money or time. One must feel a great sense of victory and pride once the patent number is received. It should also be noted that there are discounted fees for individual inventors and small entity businesses for their patent application, which can save an inventor some money.


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Heather KelleherCheap Patent
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Why Do Patents Cost So Much?

Heather Kelleher Filing Patent Applications, Patent Cost Leave a Comment

patent costOne of the first questions that inventors want to know as they look to get a patent is, of course, what is the patent cost? If you’re having trouble finding a straightforward answer to this question, that’s probably because there is none! Remember that patents are legal documents processed by the federal government, and as a result, the process can be somewhat complicated.


Type of Patent

On the most basic level, the cost of filing a patent depends upon the type of patent being filed. Provisional Patent Applications cost less, but eventually need to be upgraded to a permanent patent. Design Patent Applications cost less because they only include visual appearance. The most common type of application, a Utility Patent Application, runs more but includes engineering specifications, legal claims, and more.

Other Patent Cost Fees

In addition to the Application Filing Fees, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has a number of other fees which are assessed at various times in the patent process. These include Search Fees, Examination Fees, additional fees for large applications, and the like. Many of these individual fees can run in the neighborhood of several hundred dollars.

Issuance Fees

In addition to the costs associated with applying for a patent, so-called Issuance Fees must be paid if the application is successful. This covers the cost of turning the application into the form of a final, issued patent, incorporating the new patent into the USPTO system, and the like. Issuance Fees also vary greatly based on the type of application and are generally higher than the application fees.

Hire a Professional

Hire a ProfessionalMost inventors choose hire a professional that specializes in the field of patent applications. This involves legal fees that vary based on how complex the invention is. However, the chance of successfully getting a patent is much higher with the help of a professional, saving money which is otherwise spent on applications that never turn into patents.


In Summary

The only way to find out how much a patent will cost is to actually do it. In general, most inventors end up spending several thousand dollars. Another good step is to hire a professional who can give a more accurate estimate of your specific project, and how much your patent cost.

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Heather KelleherWhy Do Patents Cost So Much?
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Invention Timeframe

Heather Kelleher Filing Patent Applications, How-To, Invention Ideas, Inventions and Inventors, Inventor Education 4 Comments

calendar

 Here’s the Invention Time Frame

Most first time inventors aren’t familiar with all of the steps that go into patenting an invention. In this article, we’ll review all of the steps in the invention timeline to see what it takes and how long it takes to turn an idea into a patent.

Invention Time Frame

 Initial Concept

The first step is coming up with an idea! Most inventors does this by identifying a problem in the current market, figuring out what would fix this, and figuring out how to construct a product that would incorporate these features. Once a final concept is made known to anyone but the inventor, they have one year to contact a company and get a Patent Application filed.

 
Research And Development

The next step is to contact a professional company for a patent search. A professional will perform a detailed patent search on the millions of existing patents to ensure that the invention has not been done before. Sometimes, the invention may be modified or improved during this period. Once this is accomplished, the company will generally help recommend a patent type. This process generally takes only a couple of months or weeks.


Preparing An Application

ResearchOnce the research and development is complete, a licensed Patent Agent or Attorney will help to prepare a patent application. This involves drafting detailed engineering specifications, preparing artworks, and drafting the legal claims for the Patent Application. During this time, the inventor is deeply involved in making sure that the professional’s work matches the inventor’s vision. The application is usually filed within one year of the start of research, if not sooner.


Application Filed!

Once the application is filed, it’s up to the U.S. Patent Office to review the application before issuing a patent. During this time, the invention can be marketed to companies as a “patent pending”. The Patent Office can come back with questions, comments, and corrections to the patent application, which are handled by the hired professional. Getting a patent issued can take several years depending on the patent type, but as mentioned, most inventors begin pitching their idea while they wait.


Patent Issued!

Once a patent is issued, the inventor has sole intellectual property rights to their patented invention for up to twenty years depending on the patent type. The only step left now in the invention time frame is to enjoy having successfully patented an idea.

 

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Heather KelleherInvention Timeframe
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Protection Without A Patent

Jake Werkmeister Patent and Trademark Thoughts, Patent, Trademark, Copyright 4 Comments

idea_protection

Clients often ask how they’re protected in showing us their invention idea before they get a patent. This is a very reasonable question, and there is a ton of misinformation on the topic. First and foremost is the notion that you can receive a patent without having to show anyone anything about your idea. This is simply not true. The patent office does not hand out patents like serving tickets at the deli. There is a rather lengthy litigation process involved with receiving a patent, and even the USPTO highly recommends that you have a licensed patent attorney/representative file the patent for you. So naturally, your patent attorney will have to understand what your idea is before they go about filing it for you.

Now that we’ve established that you have to show your idea to a licensed professional, what’s to protect your idea from the said professional? There is a long standing myth that you can simply mail the idea to yourself in order to obtain a “poor man’s patent”. The unfortunate thing about the “poor man’s patent” is that it offers absolutely no legal protection whatsoever. Worst yet is that many inventors think that this myth is fact. We are a first to file country, meaning that the first inventor to file a patent on an invention will receive the rights to that invention. Mailing the idea to yourself is not part of the patent process, nor will it hold up in any court. If one attempts to obtain royalties with a “poor man’s patent”, they are going to end up a poor man indeed.

At this point, things are looking rather bleak, as simple protection for an inventor seems non-existent. Luckily, there is one legally binding contract that will protect inventors as they reveal their ideas to those who can help them obtain a patent. A non-disclosure agreement (NDA), also known as a confidentiality agreement (CA), confidential disclosure agreement (CDA), proprietary information agreement (PIA), or secrecy agreement (SA), is a legal contract between at least two parties that outlines confidential material, knowledge, or information that the parties wish to share with one another for certain purposes, but wish to restrict access to or by third parties. It is a contract through which the parties agree not to disclose information covered by the agreement.

We here at For Sale By Inventor have our NDA posted as part of our Record of Invention form. This particular NDA is known as a unilateral non-disclosure agreement. A unilateral NDA is when one party submits information of a confidential nature over to another party. The contract is binding, so even if you choose not to use our services, we are unable to disclose any information about your idea to any third party.

Now that you know that your idea is safe with the NDA, now’s the time to make sure that you are properly protected with a patent! Get in touch with us today, and we’ll show you how to begin.

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Jake WerkmeisterProtection Without A Patent
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Legal Implications of Doing Business in China

Aaron Cramer Patent and Trademark Thoughts Leave a Comment

ChinaAs many nascent entrepreneurs know – ideas and passion are usually in great supply while working capital struggles to keep pace. As such, many business men and women looking to place their product in the hands of a paying consumer look for intelligent methods to cut the costs of production thereby off-setting his or her limited capital resources. One such method, which has become part of almost every conversation related to manufacturing, is to have your product made in China.

Anecdotally and often demonstrably, China offers an affordable and efficient alternative to presumptively more expensive locals of production – depending of course on what is being manufactured and the quantity of the same. Assuming all things being equal, China is tough to beat in affordability. However, all things are not equal and therefore merit some consideration.

Firstly, a US patent has little bearing in China absent an international patent or a PCT (Patent Cooperative Treaty) patent. As a consequence, if you are concerned about protecting your intellectual property rights but haven’t the inclination or resources for obtaining Chinese patent protection then your intended Chinese manufacturing partner must be reputable and agree to be bound by applicable and negotiated non-disclosure papers (at a minimum). You certainly do not need Chinese patent protection to manufacture a product in China, but you likely should obtain some contractual assurances regarding privacy and product quality.

Secondly, in view of the first point and regardless of intellectual property protection concerns, a major hurdle for obtaining contractually enforceable rights in China is that of language. Unless you speak Mandarin or another variation of the Chinese languages, you are going to need a partner who can mediate and translate a business agreement. Finding such a partner who is both affordable and reputable may prove almost as daunting a task as learning the language yourself.

Lastly, given the foregoing it may not be a bad idea to investigate having your product produced locally. While there may be additional costs associated with local manufacturing, (which is not always the case), there are likely many benefits; namely, if your locality is the United States then your patent rights are enforceable, you speak the language and you can more easily visit the manufacturing facility should you so desire. In short, manufacturing in China is an often glib suggestion to cut costs and increase profits but the reality is more complicated and usually entails costs that aren’t usually itemized or added to the basic cost per widget.

The above is merely the briefest of summaries on this subject. If interested, the reader is encouraged to independently research this subject further. In the interests of fair attribution, in writing this article, the author did so himself relying upon a little personal information while largely leaning upon the infinitely more informed individuals whose articles are available at:

http://www.patentpuzzle.com/2009/03/articles/patent-basics/do-you-need-international-patent-protection/ and http://smallbusiness.foxbusiness.com/entrepreneurs/2013/06/07/pros-and-cons-doing-business-with-china/.

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Aaron CramerLegal Implications of Doing Business in China
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How to Get Your Invention Made and Sold in America

Neil E. Montgomery Invention Marketing, Invention News Leave a Comment

made-in-usa

Made in USA

We’ve been contacted by many inventors who have decided to take the plunge and start making and selling their inventions directly. After the decision is made to get started, the next step is figuring out if the product should be made in America or overseas somewhere?

There are advantages and disadvantages with using a domestic supplier just as there are advantages and disadvantages with going overseas. It depends on many factors including what the product is, how big is the order and what price point you want to hit in the marketplace. You’ll often hear that it is less expensive to use an overseas manufacturer. That may be true in many cases but not always. You have to add in the cost to ship the products and get them to your warehouse. If you are dealing with large items or a very small order, the shipping cost could be more expensive than producing the product locally.

Many inventors insist on having the product “Made in America” because they want to keep jobs from being outsourced overseas. That is very noble and we applaud their patriotism. Unfortunately, it can be a major uphill battle for some products. If the cost to produce a product here exceeds the price people are willing to pay for that product, producing it locally will not benefit America in any way. On the flipside, if you could produce that same product in China, for example, and hit a price point that consumers are willing to spend on that product, then making it China can benefit America and even your local community.

A viable, selling product helps create jobs in America regardless of where it is originally made. As you look through the supply chain, American jobs are needed to help get your product in the hands of a consumer. The potential jobs are endless if you consider everybody that would be involved with getting your product retail ready. To name a few, there are: truck drivers, warehouse workers, web designers, graphic designers, salespeople, etc., and don’t forget tax revenues.

We don’t advocate exclusively looking overseas or domestically. We recommend looking at all of your options before making a final decision. The best choice may very well be in your hometown if you’re lucky.

For those willing to take on the risk, we’ve developed relationships with manufacturers both locally and overseas. If anybody is interested in making and selling their invention themselves, please let us know and we’ll be happy to assist you.

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Neil E. MontgomeryHow to Get Your Invention Made and Sold in America
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April 15th

Robert E. Montgomery Patent and Trademark Thoughts Leave a Comment

taxdayApril 15th, also known affectionately as, Tax Day has come and gone for another year. I hope the numbers were kind to you. As Americans, we pay our fair share of taxes based upon our income less whatever deductions we’re entitled to.

Income as reported on our tax forms is important to small-entity inventors. The amount of taxable income makes a significant difference in the amount of patent office fees. The critical threshold is approximately $150,000.00 of income from the previous calendar year. All small-entity inventors (individuals, small groups and businesses up to 500 employees) receive a 50% reduction in Patent Office fees, while small-entity inventors with income under the $150K mark are considered “Micro-entity Inventors” and are thus entitled to a 75% discount in fees. This is new as of March 16, 2013.

Although $150,000.00 is a quick income test, the actual formula is: three times the national median household income. The $150K number includes the combined income of all inventors and investors. That means that two co-inventors must add their income together. It also means that an inventor and all investors must add everyone’s income together for qualification purposes. Most of our clients do qualify for Micro-entity status.

It is important to keep in mind that the fee classification test must be conducted each time the Patent Office charges a fee. It is possible for an inventor to have micro-entity status at filing only to have their income rise at patent issuance to small-entity status.

While on the subject of taxes, it is worth remembering that the Patent Office receives no tax dollars. None – zero – zilch. The Patent Office survives on the fees they charge all of us. Every year, usually in the last quarter of the year, the Patent Office will adjust fees as their operational needs forecast. Regardless of the time of the year, fees can and have been changed upwards and downwards with little notice.

Since the new patent laws went into effect in March 2013, the Patent Office has been able to keep and use of the all of the fees they collect without Congress using any of the money for other non-patent related purposes. Now that the USPTO can keep what they receive, fees have been reduced and the Micro-entity classification introduced. For just one example, the Issuance Fee for a Utility Patent went from $890.00 for a Small-entity inventor to $480.00 or to $240.00 for a Micro-entity. That is real savings to inventors.

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Robert E. MontgomeryApril 15th
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Pet Rock Inventor Dies

Robert E. Montgomery Invention News Leave a Comment

Vintage Pet Rock

Vintage Pet Rock

On March 23, 2015, Gary Dahl, the inventor of the Pet Rock, passed away at age 78. Mr. Dahl never received a patent but was able to federally Trademark the “Pet Rock” name.

It was in 1975, during an economic recession and 9% unemployment, that Dahl created the first fad product to rival the 1950’s Hula Hoop craze. The inventor was working in Northern California as a freelance copyrighter barely making ends meet at the time. The idea of having a “pet” that required no walking, feeding or cleaning up after came to life while having drinks with friends.

Having a rock for a “pet” was perfect for the time. It was the must-have gift for Christmas 1975. The fad burned fast and hot and then was over in less than a year, but what a year it was. 1.5 million Mexican river rocks bought by Inventor Dahl for a penny a piece were sold nestled in a cardboard box for $3.95 retail. $3.95 during the 1975 recession would be worth $29.72 in 2015. Sounds like pretty good return on investment. Also packaged in the cardboard box were a set of instructions on how to care for the new “pet.”

The mid-70’s Pet Rock fad is a perfect example of how impossible it is for anyone to predict the future success or failure of any new product. Getting a product onto the market and selling is an inexact science.

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Robert E. MontgomeryPet Rock Inventor Dies