Cost For Patent Search: Everything You Need to Know
A patent search is a search of issued patents and published patent applications that can help you determine if an existing patent, or patent application, is too close, or exactly like, the invention you are seeking to patent.7 min read
Cost for Patent Search
The cost for patent search can vary dramatically. For example, the fee for a patent search for a mechanical invention is $475. A patent search for a design may be much less. Again, it depends primarily on what kind patent you are searching, but the complexity of the patent you are searching also can account for a higher cost than a relatively simple design.
A patent search is a search of issued patents and published patent applications that can help you determine if an existing patent, or patent application, is too close, or exactly like, the invention you are seeking to patent. You can save yourself a lot of money in the long run by determining that you are chasing after a dream that already exists. If that is the case, you can abandon your efforts at the get go and move on.
What types of patent searches are available?
What does a patent novelty search include?
A patent search report will list all patents that have been issued, which are related to the patent that you are seeking for your invention, in order from the most closely related match to the least.
What information about my invention should I include?
When searching patents, it is important to study the drawings, photos, and text that are close in nature to the explanation you have of how your invention works. You should also look for information that details the industry in which you would market your invention.
Why do a patent search?
Doing a patent search before you submit an application helps you avoid spending money, as well as your valuable time, preparing an application for an invention that has already been patented.
In addition, a patent search will help you determine if a product under development will infringe on any patents that already are in force, thus saving more money by helping to avoid a patent infringement lawsuit.
A patent search can help you find ways to improve on technology patent gaps. It also can help you identify potential partners, or competitors, in your application for a patent. In the case of a competitor, a patent search can help you validate any of its patents.
Ease Patent Search Options for Inventors on a Budget
It is really necessary to perform a patent search or to have one done for you before filing a patent application. Without it, you can waste a lot of money, as well as your own time and efforts, if you don’t first assess the likelihood of having a marketable product.
If you are an inventor who is unsure about performing a patent search on their own, a good alternative is to consult a reputable patent search firm. However, professional patent agents and lawyers can charge more than $3,000 to run a patent search for you. If you are operating on a fixed budget, you might want to consider more affordable options.
Performing a patent search will help determine if your invention is actually a one of a kind invention. It also can help you spot the challenges you might be up against before you even submit an application to the United States Patent and Trademark Office, or USPTO.
The USPTO offers an excellent web tutorial on how to conduct a preliminary U.S. patent search.
Doing a patent search can help you determine the possibility of receiving a patent. It does not have to be a costly investment if you take some initiative and perform crucial research, such as a patent search before you invest too much in process of applying for a patent.
Kedma Ough, inventor, author, speaker, and a fifth-generation entrepreneur, is a proven champion for small businesses. Ough provides honest, straightforward education to innovators on feasibility, funding and free resources.
The amount Does a Patent Search Cost?
A novel and non-obvious invention may be patentable. The legal terms “novel” and “non-obvious” broadly mean “unique”. To determine whether the invention is indeed novel and non-obvious, smart inventors conduct prior patent searches.
Patent search costs are highly dependent on the technology and on who is doing the search. A complex invention, for example, will result in a more expensive patent search. This applies to inventions in areas that are relatively obscure as well.
For example, there are many patents that exist as a means of protecting different kinds of RAID systems used to store information across a number of computer servers. Someone who is able to distinguish between these complicated variants will be expensive to hire. A patent attorney would cost about $2000 to $3000, while hiring other services to perform the search may only be several hundred dollars.
Doing It Yourself
Conduct a patent search on your own to save thousands of dollars. The USPTO maintains a database with which you can use to help conduct your search. You could enter specific terms, combinations of terms, or the name of the inventor or assignee.
One problem presented by searching this way is that elements of an invention can be described many ways.
There are several drawbacks to conducting your own search. You may, for example, be overwhelmed with the number of redundant patents associated with the term you searched. On the other hand, the search terms may also not yield any information at all. A useful strategy for conducting a search would be to enter the name of your competition in the assignee field. Alternatively, search for the name of the CTO of a competitor.
You could also go without conducting a search altogether. The USPTO conducts a search for every application review, and any search results that come up will then be presented to the inventor if the patent office decides to object or reject the application.
Since the USPTO's search is not focused on helping you draft your patent application with respect to distinguishing your invention from those that are already known, it is usually not helpful.
The Cost of Obtaining a Patent in the U.S.
There are challenges inherent in describing what makes your invention new and different, and the law continues to get more complex. The U.S. Supreme Court, the U.S. Court of Appeals and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office have put forth more and more regulations over the years, making it more and more difficult to come up with the descriptions and claims that they require.
In and of itself, the patent application process is complex, but the most important thing that will influence the estimated cost of preparing and filing a patent application will be the invention itself and the complexity of the design.
The majority of inventions usually fall in the range from relatively simple to minimally complex.
If you truly expect to get a patent for your invention, you will eventually need to file a non-provisional patent application. Below are some approximations about what to expect can expect to pay in lawyer’s fees when filing a non-provisional patent application.
- The government requires a filing fees of $730 at a minimum for independent inventors and small business, or small entities.
- The fee would be at least $400 for a micro-entity.
- Filing fees can and will increase as do the number of claims within the application.
- Professional drawings, which, while not required, should definitely be included, usually add an additional $300 to $500 for a full set of drawings.
The above are simply ballpark numbers. Lawyer’s fees can go well above $15,000, if an invention is particularly complicated, or the inventor needs to get broad patent protection. Obtaining a strong patent entails more claims in the application, as well as keener observation of providing satisfactory technical disclosure by describing as many different invention alterations conformations as possible.
This is what takes a lawyer more time, which evolves into more costs for the inventor.
For companies who only have intellectual property, it may be a sensible thing to budget more per application because a solid foundation is necessary for obtaining a broad patent protection. Without this protection, investors would most likely not be willing to fund the project.
The first corner that inventors often cut is skipping the patent search. This is almost always a bad idea. The whole reason for conducting a patent search is to be able to reach the confidence threshold of 80 percent. Reaching a higher level would take much more money. In fact, to reach a level of almost certainty, it would cost an inventor millions.
While it not economically feasible for most to go that far, a complete search of what can be found within reason will help with better decision-making and lead to a much stronger patent application. Basically, without performing a search, your application is taking place in a vacuum.
Hiring a patent lawyer or patent agent to perform a patent search for you will be the best money that you can spend in the entire process.
Both a provisional and non-provisional patent application needs to express the invention completely. However, with a provisional patent application, the exact formalities are reduced, which makes its preparation an easier process. This also means that it costs less. You can always attach documents to support your provisional patent application, focusing on getting as much information as you can submitted with the document.
Filing a provisional patent application makes a lot of sense. It gives you protection for the ideas you currently have while allowing you to work on improving your invention for up to a year before you must file a non-provisional patent application.
Lawyer’s fees for preparing and filing a provisional patent application is usually $2,000 minimum. A top notch provisional patent application can cost $2,500 to $3,000.
Evaluating the cost for recording, getting and keeping up licenses over the globe
Today’s ambitious business climate means businesses are faced with the triple threat of constantly having to innovate, of lowering budgets for research and development, and keeping abreast of the continuously changing costs of obtaining patent protection across the globe.
However, estimating said costs can be a challenging and time-consuming effort.
In several jurisdictions across the globe, costs are a function of a variety of variables, including the mode of filing, the type of applicant, the number of pages and the number of various claims listed in an application. These and other estimates given below are based on the values found within the fee schedules supplied by at least five independent IP law associates in each jurisdiction.
If you need help with costs for patent searches, you can post your legal need on UpCounsel’s marketplace. UpCounsel accepts only the top 5 percent of lawyers to its site. Lawyers on UpCounsel come from law schools such as Harvard Law and Yale Law and have an average of 14 years of legal experience, including work with or on behalf of companies like Google, Menlo Ventures, and Airbnb.