How much does it cost to patent an idea? It depends. Here are the two ways in which you can patent an idea:
- Write and file your own patent application (the cheapest way) – total cost about $900 for most inventors to get an issued patent (USPTO fees only).
- Hire a registered patent attorney or patent agent to write and file a patent application for you (the most expensive way) – total cost $5,000-$10,000 mostly in attorney billing time.
When you’ll want to write your own application and file it yourself, the process will be a lot cheaper. In this case, the only fees you have to pay are the official US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) fees. For most normal and typical inventions, the total cost of the patent will look close to this (Updated in May 2014):
- File provisional patent application – USPTO fee $65 (for most inventors, assumes micro entity status)
- File non-provisional patent application – USPTO fees (filing fee, search fee, etc.) about $400
- Patent Issue fee – USPTO fee $450
- Fee for maintenance (due 3.5 years after your patent is allowed) – USPTO fee $400
- Fee for maintenance (due 7.5 years after your patent is allowed) – USPTO fee $900
- Fee for maintenance (due 11.5 years after your patent is allowed) – USPTO fee $1,850
Remember that these fees are spread over a long period of time and won’t have to be paid all at the same time.
The process as shown above, with its cost, assumes that you will be doing all of the work on your own and that you won’t use a patent agent or attorney for the job. Before looking to hire a patent agent or patent attorney, an action that is recommended for non-provisional patent applications, you have to know their billing rates. A lot of known and good patent lawyers will charge anywhere between $200-$400 per hour (you can find a few cheaper ones). This will raise the cost of preparation for the new patent application to anywhere from $5000 to $10,000 in attorney fees plus the USPTO fees as shown above.
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Is there a better (and cheaper) way to lower the cost of a patent?
We think so and that is why we have created this article. One great idea is for you to talk to a patent attorney or agent and ask them to teach you how to write and file your own patent application. This will save you $1,000s in attorney fees but you will still get a good, high-quality patent application. For this to happen, you have to find an attorney or patent agent that wants to help you. That will be hard work, but it will worth it in time.
Budget for patents
Inventors should consider their budget for any invention based on what purpose it will have and the future market opportunities of the invention. Inventors may feel compelled by a definite market opportunity and expand their budget for the actual patent to cover a larger base of protection against possible claims of competitors or similar inventions.
Should the average working Joe patent his idea?
If you feel like you have struck gold and your idea may go viral and become a worldwide phenomenon, then it will be a great idea to protect yourself by getting a patent. Information travels fast and there are a lot of people all around prowling for new business ideas to increase their revenues. Most business ideas can be replicated in under one day, so getting a patent before fully releasing your idea to the public could have a lot of benefits.