How Much Does It Cost to Patent a Product in the U.S.?

The cost to patent a product includes minimum fees charged by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for small entities ranging from $400 for micro entities to about $730 for a small entity. Professional drawings range from $300–$500. These are the most basic of costs, and one can typically expect to spend a couple to several thousand dollars. Thus, it is also realistic to ask yourself if the invention has some realistic value in the marketplace. Can it generate profits for someone? If not, then it may not really be worthwhile to obtain a patent.

Filing for a U.S. patent can be complex, as there are many considerations, especially when it comes to technology-related patents. However, there are several issues to consider. It is important to first define an invention. An invention is an innovation that is unique compared to anything that has been proposed previously.

Your invention can be as simple as a paperclip or as complex as a mathematical algorithm. Therefore, it is necessary to consider the type and complexity of the innovation when you are filing because various experts may need to be involved.

Proposing, demonstrating, and providing examples of your invention is vital. This may be some of the most complex parts of the filing process, as you need to write appropriate text, illustrate drawings, or even provide a prototype to explain the innovation. Importantly, some of the language necessary to describe the innovation may be unfamiliar to a layperson, and thus, will need the cost of a specialist to write.

As the process of developing the supporting documentation for any particular invention will depend on the complexity and uniqueness of the subject matter at hand, it can be difficult to determine costs up front. At the beginning stages of this process, it may, therefore, be worthwhile to file a provisional patent application. This automatically provides you with some safeguards, as indicating a filing time and also a period of time to put together the necessary design documents.

When the market opportunities are very real, then you may want to spend a larger amount up front in order to protect all the details in a sufficient manner from competitors. In this kind of situation, legal help from a patent attorney or assistance from a reputable patent broker would very much be warranted.

To get a stronger patent, one should have stronger claims and more attention to providing detailed technical information, describing alternatives, options, variations, and various embodiments. This will require more attorney time; more time spent working with a patent examiner to get the patent issued. Therefore, there will be higher costs.

Many corporations have intellectual property. This is considered a very real asset that has value for a company. If the company does R&D work or comes up with innovations, they will most certainly take the time to patent it. These patents then become part of the company assets and are included in valuations and consideration by investors.

Cutting corners in your patent application will likely cause problems down the line. Make a realistic assessment of the market possibilities of your invention and take the time to prepare a proper filing. Some inventors have taken to crowdfunding or sought out investors to help fund this process. Take the time to do a proper patent search for other similar patents, and find a specialist in your subject matter area that will provide a quality report.

A patent search is vital, as it provides you with an idea as to whether pursuing a patent is even of consideration. Patent searches are not guaranteed. The purpose of this process is to succeed in an 80 percent stage of confidence threshold.

A detailed and efficient search of what can be discovered leads to better decisions and always leads to a better written patent application that takes into consideration any prior art. If you settle without knowing the art before your invention, there is no way for you to prove that your creation is unique. In other words, if you skip the search, you are simply throwing away precious time, effort, and funds in filing a patent.

Patent searches by attorneys or patent researchers typically cost $1,000 - 3,000 for:

  • The quantity of written evaluation desired
  • Invention complexity
  • Quantity of found prior art that must be considered

There are two types of patents. A provisional patent application and a non-provisional patent application. The requirements for a provisional patent are lower and are intended to assist you in marking a submission time and provides a period of a year for you to prepare the filing for a non-provisional patent application.

When the search produces a large number of similar patents and published applications, this is considered a crowded field of invention. In this type of situation, a search will result in prior art, which reflects similar work that has been done in the past. To provide an examiner with a history and relevant comparison to other inventions, it is required that you provide them with documentation on prior art. You’ll also need to then carefully describe how your invention differs in a unique way from such prior art. Doing this well will likely increase the cost of preparing for your patent application.

How Much Does a Patent Cost?

You will be able to file patent applications by yourself, which could cost much less but require extra work on your part. There will be a lack of professional assistance. It is very important to be very cautious in doing this since you would not want to risk a mistake that could jeopardize your capability to get a good patent for your invention. There is a reason why a patent lawyer pays extra for malpractice insurance coverage than nearly every other sort of lawyer.

Patent searches are more appropriate to do on your own. Especially since it is likely that you are a specialist in the area that your innovation falls under. Currently, there are a number of tools that you may make the most of in doing this. There is Google, educational papers, and websites to seek out what different inventors, authors, and companies are up to or what is new in the field. You can use social networks to get data from different folks from the same field. From these resources, you can obtain sufficient knowledge to make better choices -- all of this can be done before even meeting up with a lawyer.

A design patent protects the way in which an invention looks. A design patent protects items, the design of manufactured goods, the form of medical gadgets, and the format of consumer interfaces. In other words, a design patent protects your invention’s unique appearance and how it is assembled.

How Much Does Filing a Utility Patent Application Cost?

  • Preparation and submitting of an authentic utility of minimal complexity by a small patent agency (10 web page specification, 10 claims) = $8,500
  • Comparatively advanced biotechnology/chemical = $15,000
  • Comparatively advanced mechanical = $11,500
  • Comparatively advanced electrical/computer code = $14,000

Once a patent application has been filed, there will be rounds of amendments at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for several years, meaning more attorney time, so this will require additional attorney fees. Here are some typical fees

Filing an Ammendment Cost:

  • Simple = $2,500
  • Complex engineering, computer science =$4,000
  • Complex biotech/chemicals = $4,500
  • Complex mechanical engineering = $3,500

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office will charge fees before the patent is granted. The current utility patent issue fee and publication fee is $2,070 for a large entity and $1,185 for a small entity. Every 3.5, 7.5, and 11.5 years after the issuance, there will be maintenance fees. Maintenance fees are $1,150/$575 at 3.5 years, $2,900/$1,450 at 7.5 years, and $4,810/$2,405 at 11.5 years for large entities and small entities, respectively.

International patents are the most expensive type of patent, ranging up to $100,000, while domestic patents can be $10,000 or above.

Should I File for a Patent Now?

For an invention to be licensed or to take a product up in the market, one must be extremely knowledgeable about it and must be able to discuss and explain it. Remember, either you want to market and utilize your patent idea for a business, or you want to sell it to a business that does. The fundamental purpose behind a patent is to protect the idea and its profit-making potential.

There are a number of downsides to hastily submitting a patent.

  • It is expensive, and generally, inventors discover that the costs involved outweigh the potential business opportunities available. It makes them question whether it is a practical idea to pursue the process.
  • Within the early stages, the invention may still be evolving. The concept or idea may still need further refinement or development. Thus, it is important to allow time for the inventor to develop the concept to an advanced stage and to also reflect this in descriptions and drawings.
  • The investment was done prior to testing the marketability of the invention. They have not proven if the product is actually sellable. This is a risk because what if by the end the invention process, it is actually not worthwhile to pursue as a business venture.

Thus, the upside for filing a provisional or non-provisional patent are large. Costing much less than a utility patent application, filing a provisional patent can really help in starting the process at a reasonable cost and pace. Rather than immediately trying to file a utility patent, consider instead what most do, which is to file for a provisional or non-provisional patent. This can be done at a much lower cost, and also sets some time parameters that can bring focus to an inventor as they develop the innovation.

The key advantage of filing for a provisional patent is that it marks a submission date. However, the clock then starts to tick for when you have to file a utility patent, and the U.S. Patent and Trade Office sets the period as 12 months from time of filing for the provisional patent.

There are three issues to watch out for when putting together a filing for a provisional patent:

  1. Does the application meet the requirements of 35 U.S.C 112; 2 for a written description?
  2. In your written description, minimize limiting or restrictive phrasing as you want your patent to be as broad as possible.
  3. Accuracy is vital; however, broaden your descriptions.

When thinking of ways to protect your intellectual property, don’t forget that various states have trademark registration systems, as does the federal government. This is a very cost-effective approach to protecting your core asset, the name of your business or product.

As soon as you have come up with the name of the product, trademark the name. Then, while you converse with potential licensees and customers, use the name. This is important because a name on its own cannot be trademarked. It must be used in the course of running a business. The purpose of a trademark is similar to a patent in that it is only intended to protect business interests. Therefore, it should be utilized in the course of running a business.

In some states, you must utilize the name in public before even filing for trademark application, and in the federal trademark system, a trademark must be used in interstate commerce before it can be considered to be registered. Meaning, one must have used the trademark prior to registering.

In most situations, for example, in a particular state, the trademark can be utilized regionally for free, just add the trademark symbol to a product name, which is done by adding the letters "t" and "m" between two parentheses.

A trademark can be registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and overseas. This takes 10 to 14 months. The ® symbol can be used once the name is registered by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Take some time now to get further information on how you can patent your invention. Assistance is available at UpCounsel by posting your legal need at this premier marketplace for legal services. The lawyers from UpCounsel are representative of the top law schools in the U.S., such as Yale and Harvard Law. UpCounsel only works with the top five percent. Get them to help you today at UpCounsel.