Patent Cost USA: Everything You Need to Know

Patent cost USA depends on the type of patent. The idea or object has to be determined before moving into the cost of the patent. Researching the idea to see if it is truly original is also an imperative step to take before even applying. Additionally, any persons who helped create the process must become listed, though they won’t have rights to the patent itself.

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) also requires that its protocols are met. These protocols depend on the industry from which your idea originated. This, along with which set of laws guide it through the patent process, is something you should determine in order to identify the cost of obtaining the patent.


There are a number of things to consider when it comes to obtaining a patent. There are two major aspects that dictate the cost.

  1. The type of invention
  2. The complexity of the patent

Most inventors also conclude that hiring a professional on patent law would be better use of their time. After all, inventors usually have a job to do or a business to run and do not have the time to undergo the patent application process. Hiring a professional means you have someone knowledgeable about inventions and their level of complexity to help you.

The type of invention, complexity of the patent, and whether you are hiring a professional on patent law are the three major things that determine pricing. However, that marks only the beginning of the process. When the process of obtaining a patent actually begins, other fees apply. The steps are as follows:

  1. Go to the website and obtain a nonprovisional patent application. Nonprovisional patent applications have an examination.
  2. You get a customer number with a digital certification. At some point, you will do a provisional application as well, but this gets the ball rolling, and it lets the Patent Office tell you what direction to go in saving time and money.
  3. Patent cost begins here with the initial fee plus the cost of professional help. How much you ultimately spend depends on the type of patent needed, the path you wish to take, and what the markets have become intrigued with.

Intellectual property patents take a wide berth since the market may not be fully in bloom or created yet. This involves more risk but also more profit if it comes to fruition. These patents take longer to become approved. Patent searches take time, and for a small business, the cost may prove prohibitive. Hiring a professional as in a patent lawyer may help the process become much more manageable.

Provisional patents do cost less at first, but it does not list all the necessary claims or specifications. Ultimately the details determine the originality of the idea. If the details cannot be found elsewhere the likelihood of it being original increases. Between hiring a professional, the search, and the fees, a total cost of $7000 to $10,000 is not unheard of.

Do It Yourself

Many people get proficient at filing patents after doing some research, and this remains a way to save money. However, it takes a lot of time and searching to fully understand the process. If your invention or idea does not fall within the norm of patent processes, you may miss an important step in the process. Do a thorough scan to make sure that you have not missed anything, and make sure that the application checks all the boxes since fees are not returnable.

In terms of drafting your own patent after the application process, there are downloadable templates that you may want to use.

Many patents require drawings. Having the ability to sketch especially digitally saves costs. Software exists that makes outlines of pictures of objects like a coloring book, such as Image Outline. If the item can become crafted then take a picture, use the outline software for the initial sketch and then fill in what is needed. If your desire becomes to protect your idea or creation for a short time, then file a provisional patent since it protects for a year. This path lets you do patenting in phases.

You can submit a draft patent application within the year. It allows conversion to a full utility patent application which most ideas and inventions fall under.

Kinds of Patents

Underneath the provisional and non-provisional patents which list names of the patent path exist categories of types of patents. The law created three primary types: 

Utility Patent

These deal with useful business processes, machines, manufacturing processes or improvement of those areas. It protects specific types of things such as a system, a method, or a machine. Most patents fall under this category. 

Design Patent

These deal with original, or ornamental designs or the creative process that lead to it. No maintenance fees exist with this patent. It protects the way something looks. Made for fashion items covers shapes of devices, manufactured items, and user interface layouts. Cost remains similar, but the process in the application is much shorter. The patent office still reviews it. It does not cover all the areas like a utility patent does. 

Plant Patent

These deal with vegetation and genetics of plants. Inventions can fall under more than one category and can be patented under both categories. Each patent offers a different set of protections. The time it covers an idea or an invention, which are also listed differently. The point of the patent remains to get some protection of your idea or invention so that you receive the money from it and not someone else who borrows it without your permission.

Help Minimize Patent Cost

Making a patent as cheap as possible does not help you. At the same time, as a business, you are taking a risk and until the patent becomes bought or your business soars it remains an expense. Minimizing cost makes good business sense to a point. Do the initial searches to determine originality. It makes the paid-for search easier if you have a list of what it is not.

Talk to the patent office and read the website to determine what patent you should apply for especially with an idea or item that crosses categories. A mutually beneficial relationship with a professional where you do your part, and they do their part looks like the best option.

Do You Have a Great Invention or Idea?

No matter how grand the idea, the reality becomes how to pay for it. No simple list exists telling you what your idea costs. While it depends, below is a list of factors that influence the cost of your idea. Take note that both provisional and non-provisional paths cost.

  • Attorney fees. These range from $5000 to $15, 000. Shop around before saying yes to an expert
  • The market—people need to see a use for it

Lots of patents exist on technology from the industrial revolution that no longer exists, but if you can tweak and attach it to something modern, possibilities begin to perk up again. Reality remains that 97% of patents make less money than what it cost to obtain the patent. International patents can become the most expensive and can run $100,000.

Smaller businesses must do patents that give the most chance for profit, or the fees can eat up profits quickly. That being said in general a utility patent starts at $330 with a $540 search fee and the exam cost $220. Maintenance fees are listed as $980 for three years.

Provisional and Non-Provisional Applications

For small business, this route gives a way to post a “patent pending” on products and services. This protects a small business from larger entities for a time. It postpones most of the expense till later after more information has come in after a year. That gives time to assess if the product or service truly has potential. Provisional disclosure determines quality . Nonprovisional Applications causes an examination to occur by the United States Patent Office. Its patent cost initially is similar to the provisional application, and has to be filed anyway if the utility patent path becomes chosen.

Prepare a Utility Patent

A typical small patent with minimal complexity has a 10 page specification. Ten claims will range around $8,548.

  • Biotechnology or chemical ones with a degree of complexity ranges around $15,000.
  • Mechanical patents that have a level of complexity have a price tag of around $11,000.
  • Electrical or computer patent ideas range around $14,000. Once filing becomes complete then over several years changes in law and amendments add to the mix.

Attorneys guiding the process also have their fees. Preparing for a patent remains a marathon task.

Prepare a Design Application

Limited in scope it has to do with the outer appearance of items. It does not offer the protections in depth the other patents do. Designed for the fashion industry, it does help a person retain their brand appearance and name. In a limited niche, it remains a strong patent to protect artists and designers from infringement by much larger entities.

Post Allowance and Issuance Fees

Even if you get the patent, you must pay a fee so it can become issued to you. Currently a utility patent issue fee lists as $2,070 for something classified as large and $1,185 for something small. After that, a patent maintenance fee becomes assessed for some years after issuing the patent. More reason to hire a professional to ensure a patent does not eat up your small business. Patents do have monetary value, so an expert becomes needed to protect you financially.

Patent Filing Steps

Step by step to filing occurs in a timeline similar to this.  Contact the United States Patent Office and file a provisional patent application for $65  File a non-provisional patent application with a $400 fee  If you receive the patent pay a patent issue fee of $450  Maintenance fee 3.5 years after issuance $400 7.5 years after issuance $900 11.5 years after issuance $1,850. The process used by a patent attorney and used by an inventor filing on their own is entirely different with different timelines. Patent lawyers charge between $200 and $400 an hour. Expect to pay $5000 to $10,000 just in attorney fees.

In modern times, a new idea or process must be well thought out or in a new field. The obstacles remain many to obtaining a patent if you are a small or medium business. It takes large resources to do so unfortunately. So, because of money many ideas never get fully developed or are stolen by unethical people.

The person who should receive the money does not while a thief gets rewarded. The law and lawyers do give protection but at a high price. Also know that if you do not do a thorough job of describing your patent someone can create a patent on a portion of your process and block you from using your method. Once you file it becomes open information on how you do business.

On the bright side, a patent can have much monetary value and can be sold. If you need help with creating a patent you can post your legal need on UpCounsel’s marketplace. UpCounsel hires only the top 5 percent of lawyers into its site. Most have 14 years of legal service and have worked with small business to corporate. Their level of expertise ensures you the best and latest legal advice.