What is the Cost of a Product Patent?

Trying to ascertain a product patent cost in the United States can be rather difficult as it depends on the technology involved. A patent prohibits others from using, creating, or selling your invention. Thus, it is a grant of a property right to the owner. The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) issue patents in the United States.

How Much Does a Patent Cost?

It is important to understand that the act of patenting an invention can bring challenges. Your invention must be unique, and due to the strict measures imposed by the United States Supreme Court, United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, as well as other regulations imposed from the USPTO, have made it difficult to have an invention patented. However, it is easier to obtain a patent today than it was five to 10 years ago. Although it may be easier, it is certainly not cheaper. In order to better understand the costs associated with patenting your invention, you should consider the following:

  • Discuss with a patent attorney, or even analyze for yourself, the costs associated with preparing and filing a patent application with the USPTO.
  • Consider the type of invention you have. How complex is it? If complex, the process may be costlier and more time-consuming. If you have a simple invention, however, the patent review may not take as long, and thus, will be cheaper.
  • If you are going to receive a patent, then you will be required to fill out a non-provisional patent application.
  • Government filing fees of $730 are the minimum costs associated with patent applications for small entities.
  • The fees associated with micro entities are generally at least $400.
  • Professional drawings, which are highly recommended, will typically add another $300-$500 depending on the complexity of the drawing.
  • Don’t forget—if you hire an attorney to assist you in the application process, you’ll be responsible for legal fees, which won’t come cheap with patent applications. The more complex your invention is, the higher the legal fees will be.
  • You’ll want your application to be as strong as it can be in order to be successful in your patenting your invention. Therefore, taking the time to hire an attorney and a professional to draw your invention on paper (for the patent examiner to review so he or she can better understand your invention and the economic purpose of it), is important.
  • Generally, individual investors may want to find ways to cut corners financially. However, it is important to note that a patent application is not straightforward. There are many intricacies involved in the application, and a strong application usually involves an attorney’s assistance.

Options for Filing a Patent

An inventor who seeks patent protection has three options when seeking protection, including self-drafting, hiring a patent attorney, or hiring a cheap patent service.

Self-drafting a provisional patent application requires the inventor to spend a great deal of time learning the process, drafting patent drawings, and preparing the written description of the invention. If choosing to self-draft, you should be mindful of the risks associated with choosing to do it alone.

 You can choose to hire a professional service, someone other than a patent attorney, which is generally much cheaper than hiring a patent attorney costing around $2,000. But be careful with this option. There are many companies claiming to provide legitimate services with the intent of scamming people and charging them money for poorly drafted patent applications.

If you choose a professional service, you’ll want to make sure that you ask certain questions before hiring the company. First, you’ll want to know if the individuals working for the company are licensed with the USPTO. If so, you should ask for their registration numbers so you can confirm this information. You should ask how many years of experience each individual has. If hiring a non-patent attorney who works for such a company, he or she cannot draft a provisional patent application for you; therefore, you shouldn’t use his or her service. In addition, you should consider the value of your invention. If you believe you have a highly valuable invention, you should choose a licensed patent attorney to assist you in the process.

As previously noted, you can hire a licensed patent attorney. An attorney, while more costly than the other two options, can prepare a well-drafted patent application, which can help you in the long run.

Two-Step Rule: Provisional vs.Non-provisional

When determining whether to file a provisional or non-provisional patent application, you should think of the provisional route as a two-step process whereas the non-provisional route is a one-step process.

Below are the two steps you as an inventor would take when choosing to file a provisional patent application for your invention:

Step 1. The first step is to file your provisional patent application. You’ll also be required to pay the filing fee, which is generally $125 for a small company. Note that the provisional application will not include the ‘Claims’ section, which specifically includes a claim, or declaration, that the invention is yours and that you are unaware of any similar types of inventions that already have patent protection. What is, however, required in this application is a description of your invention. You should be detailed and specific as to all aspects and features of your invention. To reiterate, while you are not required to include a ‘Claims’ section in your provisional patent application, you can do so if you wish. This can help you succeed in your non-provisional application should you choose to file it within 12 months after the filing of the provisional application.

Step 2. After filing for a provisional patent, you’ll have 12 months to then file for non-provisional patent protection. After filing this application, the non-provisional application claims the benefit of the provisional application. Therefore, you should make sure that your provisional application is specific and detailed. While it is a rather straightforward and easy application, take it seriously because all items in that provisional application will be put into the non-provisional application.

Keep in mind that provisional applications are not examined. Only non-provisional patent applications are placed in a queue and subsequently examined.

Other Types of Patents

Utility Patent

Inventors can submit a draft patent application and subsequently convert it into a utility application. Generally, it takes just about a year to complete. More specifically, utility patents protect specific types of things, such as machines, systems, or methods.

The cost of filing a utility application generally ranges between $8,000-$9,000. However, more complex claims (i.e. chemical, biotechnology) can cost up to roughly $16,000. Mechanical patent applications could be around $12,000. Complex electrical/computer patents could cost up to $14,000. Keep in mind that after the application is filed, it may require numerous amendments to perfect the application, which costs additional fees each time, ranging from $2,200 to $3,500 depending on the complexity and type of invention.

Design Patent

Such a patent protects only aesthetic design choices, including the design of manufactured products, the shape of various medical devices, and the layout of user interfaces. Someone can have both a utility and design patent. For example, someone who invents a machine to be used to make a specific product, having designed that machine in a specific way, can apply for a utility patent for the piece of machinery itself and a design patent for the design of the machine. Notably, the review for a design or utility patent is much shorter and much less expensive.

Provisional Patent

However, instead of a utility patent, a provisional patent application or even a trademark may be better suited for your invention. There are two tools for inventors that aren’t too costly, including provisional patents and trademarks. A provisional patent application is one that is filed with the USPTO and establishes an early filing date, but doesn’t equate to a patent application unless and until the applicant files a non-provisional patent application within the 12 months subsequent to filing the non-provisional patent. A provisional patent application is both less detailed and less costly.

Immediately after you file your provisional patent application, you can indicate that your invention is patent pending on any prototype. During this time period, you can also still file a utility or design patent. But, you have 12 months to develop your product even further and turn your non-provisional patent application into a formal provisional patent application.

There are two things to be mindful of when filling out a provisional patent application, which include:

  1. Avoid using restrictive language in the description of your invention, i.e. “essential,” “necessary,” etc.
  2. Be broad (while also being precise) in your description.

Trademark

Another route for inventors to go down is to have an invention trademarked.

Each and every product invented has a specific name. Once you begin using the name with customers, the invention will become synonymous with its name.

Therefore, you should trademark the name of your invention.

Do It Yourself

While it is advisable to hire a patent attorney to assist you throughout the process, you might choose to go at it alone. Filing a patent on your own will cost a lot less, but be mindful that it takes a lot of time. It may take even more time for you as you lack the professional knowledge. So, if you do choose to do it on your own, keep in mind the following:

  • Conduct your own patent search.
  • In fact, Google allows you to search for current patents, will provide you with academic papers and other related websites to find what other inventors, if any, have an invention similar to yours.
  • You may even want to reach out to others who operate in the same field as you to see if they patented their inventions and how they went about the process. You can reach out to these individuals through social networks.
  • Find a patent that is related to your application, using it as a template for yours.
  • Create or draft your own drawings.

Let us Help

If you need help patenting your product or learning more about the costs associated with the process as well as your options, 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 average 14 years of legal experience, including work with or on behalf of companies like Google, Stripe, and Twilio.