Patent Application Process

The costs associated with patenting of inventions

How Much Does a Patent Cost?

A patent application will be prepared for a fixed fee depending on the complexity and quality of the invention disclosure. USPTO fees are not included in this fixed fee. Currently, the USPTO charges $785 for a non-provisional patent application for a small entity.

Applicants can expedite examination of patent applications by filing a request for prioritized examination and paying an additional fee, which is currently $2,070 for a small entity. A prioritized patent application is normally examined within a year of the filing date.

Applicants must know that the likely total cost of the entire process to obtain a patent can be considerable because it also includes legal fees of patent procurement after the filing of the patent application and the fees for the publication and issue of the patent, currently $500. All of these prices are subject to change.

Do I Need a Utility or Design Patent?

See the frequently asked question section that describes what can be patented in each category and what actions may lead to the loss of the rights to the invention.

What is a Small Entity?

To receive a discount rate of a small entity, you must be an individual inventor or a small business, which has not sold the rights to the invention to a big organization. The USPTO defines a small entity as an independent inventor, small business, or nonprofit organization. The small business must have fewer than 500 employees, including affiliates. Those small entities that have transferred their rights to large organizations, or must transfer those rights under a contract, cannot receive the discount. If you are a small entity, the government gives you a 50% discount on many of the costs associated with the filing and procuring of patent applications.

What is a Micro Entity?

Patent filers can qualify for the micro entity status to receive a 75% discount on many of the USPTO fees associated with the filing and procuring of patent applications. To qualify as a micro entity, you must qualify as a USPTO-defined small entity, not be named as an inventor on more than four previously filed US non-provisional patent applications, and your gross income must not be more than three times the median household income in the previous year from when the fee(s) is paid. The “Maximum Qualifying Gross Income” for the purposes of paying any eligible fee at the micro entity discount rate is currently $177,117. You also must not be under an obligation to assign, grant, or convey a license or other ownership to another entity that does not meet the same income requirements as the inventor.

Legal Costs Associated with a Patent Application

We provide Legal Services at fixed fee arrangements as well as hourly rate arrangements. We may request retainer amounts in advance of performing any work to cover at least half of the expected costs of patent preparation and/or prosecution. The remaining half and official fees are normally due upon completion of work.

Patent Grant

To issue a patent, the USPTO charges $500 (for a small entity) for the issue and publication. We charge a fixed fee for preparation and filing of patent documents related to the issue of the patent.

Additional Costs

Unlike many firms, we will prepare simple patent drawings at no extra cost. However, more complex drawing (especially in the mechanical field) may require services of an experienced drafter. Drafters may charge anywhere from $75 to $150 for each illustration. In an unusual case where such services are required, we may ask you to cover these charges.

How Can I Pay for the Services?

We use an electronic billing system that allows making payments online using a credit card or a bank transfer. Other forms of payments such as by check or via a wire transfer are available as well.

Assignment of Rights to the Application

If the inventor(s) wants to assign the rights to an invention, we will prepare and record in the USPTO an assignment for a fixed fee to effect the assignment of rights. Currently, the USPTO does not charge anything to record an assignment.

What Happens During and After Filing of a Patent Application?

What is Filed?

An application is drafted based on the disclosure of the invention and together with other required documents is submitted electronically to the USPTO. An application is typically drafted within a month of the disclosure receipt unless there is an urgency to file earlier. If the time constraints do not allow for a non-provisional application to be prepared and filed before the deadline, we strongly recommend filing a provisional application to preserve your priority filing date.

What Happens After Filing?

The Patent Office will examine the application to determine whether the invention is novel and not obvious. Typically, the examiner will send us a letter rejecting all or some claims of the application in view of the prior art. At this stage, we must respond to the letter. A typical response may include a meeting with the examiner (personal or telephonic) to discuss his/her position and what measures can be taken to overcome the rejections. After that we will prepare and submit arguments, and/or amendments to the claims, specification, and drawings, in accordance with the agreement reached at the meeting. This process is called patent prosecution.

How Long Does the Process Take?

Unless an expedited prosecution is requested and paid for, the entire process, from the filing of the patent application to the issue may take from 1 to 3 years (depending on the field of the invention).

Is it Possible to Determine the Chances of my Application to Materialize into a Patent before I Spend All This Money?

A search of the prior art can result in valuable information concerning patentability of the invention. Besides, a landscape knowledge provided by the patentability search can help directing the claims of the application to truly novel aspects of the invention.

Other Options for Filing of Patents

International Applications

Patents granted by the United States of America carries a “right to prohibit others from making, using, offering for sale, and selling the invention in the United States or importing the invention into the United States.” Thus, a patent issued by the USPTO only protects the invention in the U.S.

If you wish to protect your invention in other countries, we can prepare and file a PCT application. This application must be filed within one year from the date of filing a patent application in the United States. Please see the web page of this site explaining the process of filing a PCT application. You can also write or call us for more information.

Provisional Applications

If you have a complete description of the invention, preparation of the provisional application would require only a few days. Filing the provisional application will add to the overall costs of patenting your invention. A provisional application is valid for one year, within which a non-provisional patent application claiming priority of the provisional application must be prepared and filed in order to take advantage of the priority date of the provisional application.

What We Would Like You to Provide in Order to Use Our Services

Start with information about your plans and a brief description of what you have invented (without divulging any details).

If upon review of your information we determine that there is no conflict of interest, you will be asked to sign a legal service agreement that includes details for the legal services provided.

After receiving and considering the legal service agreement, you can sign, scan and email it back to us. If you already have a description of the invention, it would be great if you could also prepare hand sketches or drawings. In your description, please indicate how you think the invention is improving existing technologies or processes, and what problem it solves. We will provide you with an invention disclosure form that can help you organize your thoughts in a patent like manner.

Your activities related to attempts to sell or sale of the invention, and with whom you talked about the invention are important for patenting. Please specify whether and when these activities have occurred. In general, US patent law prohibits issuance of a patent if more than a year before you applied for the patent any attempts to sell or sale have occurred or if the invention was described in a publication.

If you are applying for a patent in the USPTO, you will have to sign a statement promising to reveal all the facts about the prior art known to you that might affect the patentability of your invention. Hiding these facts can lead to the invalidity of your patent.