How Much Does a Design Patent Cost?

The basic filing fee for a design patent application is $760 for a large entity. A small entity's fee is $380, while a micro-entity's fee is $190. If you hire a patent lawyer to assist with preparing documents and filing the design patent application, the cost could be around $1,500-$3,000.

The cost of a design patent is much less than the cost to get a utility patent. There are a few reasons that inventors and designers opt for design patents instead of or along with utility patents.

Utility patents cover the way a manufactured product is used and works, while a design patent protects the unique ornamental design. One of the main reasons you might choose a design patent is if you created a new and different design for something that's already patented.

Without a design patent, nothing prevents other companies or individuals from directly copying your design. Leading auto and apparel manufacturers file design patent applications on just about every item they make. They're not trying to patent a shoe, a seat within a car, or a steering wheel; instead, they're protecting their unique designs from being stolen.

Some of the most important aspects of a design patent application are the drawings used to showcase the design. Unless you are familiar with exact requirements and specs for patent drawings, it's best to hire a professional. The cost for high-quality and professional patent drawings is about $600.

Why Is Design Patent Cost Important?

Understanding the design patent cost upfront helps avoid unpleasant surprises. Some inventors find themselves in dire financial situations because they didn't know how much it would cost. You don't want to bankrupt your new company with a design patent cost.

If the cost to file for a design patent is too much, you have a couple of options. You can introduce your product to the public and partner with investors. Some inventors and designers opt to use crowdfunding websites to raise enough money to file for a design patent. Another option is to wait to show your idea until you can save enough money for the design patent cost.

A design patent cost is typically quite a bit lower than a utility patent. The average approximate cost for a basic mechanical utility patent is $3,500. But a complex mechanical could cost $4,000 or more.


Like other patent applications, inventors have 12 months to file a design patent application. However, you have 12 months to file from the first time you introduce your design on a public scale. A public launch includes a trade show. If any information about the product is published in a journal, magazine, book, or other publication, this also represents a public introduction.

If you don't file your design patent application within that one-year period, you lose the chance to patent your design. Keep careful track of the timeline. If you miss it by even a few days, you can't obtain a design patent.

The term of a design patent is 15 years from the filing date. Once a designer receives approval from the USPTO, there are no additional maintenance fees or other fees required to keep it current.

There are fees associated with late payments and payments after the expiration dates. A late payment that's paid within six months of the due date will come with a fee of $160 for a large entity, $80 for a small entity, and $40 for a micro-entity. Unavoidably late payments don't have fees. However, unintentional late payments after the expiration date have fees of $1,700 or $850, respectively.

What Could Happen When You Don't Understand the Design Patent Cost?

Designers and inventors who don't understand the design patent cost might never file an application. If you choose to hire a legal professional for the design patent process, the cost is higher, but it comes with several benefits.

A good patent lawyer understands the process of filing an application. He or she will also know how to search the database extensively to see if a design similar to yours already has a patent. Finding this early in the process could save you time and money.

You also want to understand the design patent cost clearly before you start the application. While the application fee isn't high, there are other costs down the road. After you get approval from a design patent examiner, you'll have to pay an issue fee of $560. Small entities qualify for a discounted issue fee of $280 and micro-entities qualify for a discounted issue fee of $140.

Working with a patent attorney also brings more cost. However, the attorney will work on the design patent through the entire process. Some designers receive a patent and then learn it doesn't cover all the aspects of their designs. You don't want to spend the time and money only to find that your patent won't protect your design.

Common Mistakes

One common mistake a designer can make is failing to submit the design patent application within the time frame. If you do so, you lose the chance to file a patent on your design. Other businesses and people can copy your ideas without breaking any laws. If you are thinking about patenting your design, act quickly. You don't want to spend months putting the paperwork together, and then miss the 12-month window.

Another mistake related to design patent cost is not understanding all the fees. The application fee is only one portion of the cost. You could also pay fees for extra claims, faster examination, late filing, and publication. Designers must pay for the review process and maintenance fees after receiving a patent.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How much does a design patent cost? 

The overall cost of the process varies depending on if you do it yourself or hire an attorney. With a patent lawyer, the average cost is between $1,500 and $3,000. Complex cases are more expensive.

Applying for a design patent yourself will cost around $1,000 for a small business and $2,000 or more for larger companies. You will have to keep careful notes and submit all required images and information to avoid delays.

  • Why should I get a design patent?

A design patent is a great option for those with unique, ornamental designs for manufactured products. If your design is different enough that it is eligible for protection, you can receive a design patent on it. Common industries for design patents include apparel, furnishings, products for serving food and drinks, and electronics.

You should consider applying for a design patent if your item has an ornamentally different design that qualifies for patent protection.

  • What is covered by a design patent?

A design patent covers the ornamental design of the manufactured item. It does not include the product's function or operation. These aspects fall under a utility patent.

  • Who reviews a design patent application?

A recent article written by a former USPTO employee included information about who examines design patents. The background and experience varies, but some common areas include fine arts, interior design, industrial design, clothing and textile design, and architecture. There may also be reviewers that have unrelated experience and education.

Steps to File

You can review a sample design patent application form here.

If you have any questions about filing a design patent, post your legal need and get free custom quotes from lawyers at UpCounsel's marketplace. The top 5 percent of lawyers, stemming from schools such as Yale Law and Harvard Law, are available to assist you. Their years of experience, including corporate work with companies such as Google, will prove beneficial to your needs.