Sunday, February 22, 2009

Utility Patent Cost

A Utility Patent cost a lot more than most novice inventors think. Many worry only about the feared expense of patent attorneys. The legal beagles will charge big bucks to do patent searches, write patent application and submit confusing sentences to the patent office.

The USPTO will require a “uniqueness of function” in the patent claims, a proper history, and patent drawings to describe it all. Many inventors are ill-prepared for that. More inventors fear the additional expense of legal assistance and patent drawing charges. Some seek methods to lower their burden. They read self-help books on how to patent their idea. Some try to submit their own illustrations. Still, few are really prepared for the shocking cost of the unavoidable filing charges and maintenance fees of a Utility Patent.

Today, your filing fee, search and issue fee for a Utility Patent Application will total $545. You pay that “up front”. The Issue Fee and Publication Fee for the issued Utility Patent will add to $1055 more. You’ve now spent $1600 and you’ve just started the journey. Utility Patents require your payment of Maintenance Fees. These are due at intervals, with the burden increasing with time.
  • The patent’s 3 ½ year anniversary fee is $490.
  • The 7 ½ year anniversary fee is $1240.
  • The 11 ½ year maintenance fee is $2055.
  • Those three fees total $3785.
Your grand total of filing charges ($1600) and maintenance fees ($3785) will be a whopping $5385. You can’t avoid it! It makes no difference whether you’re patenting a PC or a toothpick. This $5385 has little to do with the definition or complications of your invention. This is the basic fee - let’s call it “Clerical Cost”. Everything else will cost more…much more. Think of Attorney fees for Office Actions, Reponses and Amendments. Ouch!
Want more bad news? Do you remember what a Utility Patent actually does? It gives you the right – (yes, just the right)- to pursue litigation against others (the infringers). Of course, to exercise this right - you’ll be paying legal beagles a lot more money.
Were you thinking the life of an inventor/entrepreneur was easy? Did you think we just dreamt ideas and “presto” there were money making products on the shelf? Hold On! Things get worse. You can lose that patent. Yup! After paying all those fees you can still lose that patent… all by yourself. That’s the topic of our next Inventor Video. See you soon!

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