1. U.S. Patent Office Fees
2. Micro Entity
3. Small Entity
4. Additional Fees
5. USPTO Patent Fees to Increase in January 2018

The USPTO patent fees have a revised schedule as of April 1, 2018, however they can change at any time.

U.S. Patent Office Fees

Each item in the fee schedule has three possible fees, depending on your classification. You can be classified as a large, small, or micro entity. A large entity must pay the entire fee, a small entity pays half of the full fee, and a micro entity pays 25 percent of the full fee. Flat fees, however, need to be paid in full.

Micro Entity

To be classified as a micro entity, you must meet certain criteria required by the office:

If you're an independent inventor with more than four filed patent applications, you may not qualify as a micro entity.

Small Entity

The small entity discount is given to small businesses with fewer than 500 employees, independent inventors, and nonprofit organizations. A university can also qualify as a small entity, despite its size. If filing electronically, the basic fee for an inventor or small company that qualifies as a small entity is $150.00. Although the fee was almost $400 in 2004, it would be wrong to think the Patent Office has had a fee decrease.

They tend to charge a la carte fees, which have increased over time. For example, a small entity will need to file a search fee, examination fee, and the basic filing fee. This initial fee also only covers up to three independent claims and no more than 20 total claims. Costs increase if you file more claims. For a small entity, additional independent claims cost $230 and each claim after the 20 total claims costs $50.

Additional Fees

An issue fee must also be paid along with the filing fees, which can bring a small entity's total up to the thousands, without including attorney fees. Other additional fees you may need to consider include a notice of appeal fee if you wish to fight for the rejected claims, and an oral hearing fee. If you need more time to respond in an examination, you may need to pay the office for an extension of time. Extensions will be given a month at a time.

The USPTO will give you no more than six months to respond, however you will only be given two months for free, and you will have to pay for the remainder. 

Here is additional information to know and remember when obtaining a patent for a small entity:

  • Maintenance fees, which are due every so often, must be paid to keep your patent exclusive to you.
  • Filing for a request for continued examination (RCE) may be required for obtaining additional consideration.
  • Each patent will have its own filing, issuance, and maintenance fees.
  • A provisional patent application can help you start the patent process; you will have to file a non-provisional application 12 months before the filing date of the provisional application to receive exclusive rights.

USPTO Patent Fees to Increase in January 2018

The new fees went into effect in early 2018, which is the result of a 2015 proposal given to the Patent Public Advisory Committee (PPAC).

According to the “Setting and Adjusting Patent Fees in 2017” notice, these fee adjustments will help the office continue the patent operations.

  • The “Slight” Patent Fee Increases - This refers to any fee increase of less than $20 or 10 percent, which can apply to filing, search, and excess claim fees.
  • The “Significant” Patent Fee Increases - These increases apply to RCE and patent trial fees, and reflect historic costs after three years.

However, the notice states that ex parte appeal fees will have a lower increase than once proposed. There were some who showed concern over increasing the fees and how it may affect a person's desire to file for a patent. The USPTO decided to keep the notice of appeal fee the same while increasing the appeal forwarding fee.

The full patent fee schedule can be viewed on the USPTO website along with other resourceful information on filing a trademark.

If you need help with USPTO patent fees, you can post your job 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 such as Google, Menlo Ventures, and Airbnb.