What are the Average Patent Filing Costs?

Undertaking the legal process of patent filing isn’t merely about having an invention; it’s also a financial journey, demanding a clear understanding and management of the costs associated with securing intellectual property rights. 

In this respect, navigating the patent filing process can sometimes feel like moving through a maze of expenses, making comprehension of the average patent filing cost key to your success.

Incorporating the notion of patenting a name for your unique invention could be an essential part of your journey. Although it might seem tangential to the patent filing process, choosing an apt name for your invention and understanding how to secure it can enhance your intellectual property’s overall value.

How Much Does It Cost to File a Patent?

The potential costs of filing a patent in the United States varies based on the diverse components of the patent filing process. Factors such as the type of patent—utility, design, or plant—and the complexity of your invention are aspects that influence these costs.

Costs By Patent Type

The type of patent sought is one of the primary drivers of filing costs. There are three primary types of patents: utility, design, and plant patents, each with its own unique application requirements and fee structure.

Utility Patents

Utility patents, accounting for most patents issued by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), protect new and useful processes, machines, manufacturers, compositions of matter, or any new and useful improvement. These patents are more expensive due to their wider scope and longer duration. The associated costs are as follows:

  • Base Filing Fee (Small Entity): Approximately $150 – $730.
  • Examination Fee (Small Entity): Around $380.
  • Patent Searches: Typically between $1000 to $3,000.
  • Patent Drawings: From $100 to $125 per page.
  • Attorney Fees: Vary widely but typically range from $5,000 to $15,000 or more.
  • Maintenance Fees (Small Entity): Fees at 3.5, 7.5, and 11.5 years after issuance, ranging from around $400 to $1,850.

Filing a utility patent can be complicated, often necessitating assistance from a patent attorney, thus adding to the overall cost. Moreover, you must pay maintenance fees to maintain your exclusive rights after the patent is granted.

Design Patents

Design patents protect the unique visual characteristics of a manufactured item. The associated costs are:

  • Base Filing Fee (Small Entity): Around $100.
  • Examination Fee (Small Entity): Approximately $380.
  • Patent Drawings: From $100 to $125 per page.
  • Attorney Fees: Usually a bit less than utility patents, ranging from $1,500 to $7,500.

In comparison to utility patents, design patents are less costly to acquire, do not require maintenance fees, and have a shorter term. Nevertheless, additional costs may come from patent drawings, which are vital for design patents.

Plant Patents

Plant patents protect new and distinct, invented, or discovered asexually reproduced plants. The associated costs are:

  • Base Filing Fee (Small Entity): Around $100.
  • Examination Fee (Small Entity): Approximately $380.
  • Patent Searches: Roughly $1,000 to $2,500.
  • Attorney Fees: Typically range from $3,000 to $10,000.

While the base costs for plant patents are relatively modest, other fees may include patent search, examination, and attorney fees at the patent and trademark offices.

Remember that the actual cost of a patent isn’t merely the initial filing fees but also includes maintenance fees (for utility patents), potential attorney fees, and potential charges for patent searches and drawings.

Consulting with a patent attorney or agent can prove helpful in understanding the potential costs. This is especially vital if you are trying to patent your invention or business, which requires a thorough knowledge of trademark laws and the trademark registration process.

How Do Jurisdictional Factors Impact Trademark Costs?

The federal law and jurisdiction where you file your patent or trademark application significantly influence the overall costs. The patent and trademark offices across the globe have their own unique fee structures and procedures.

For instance, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has its own set of fees, including those for filing, searching, and examination. Additionally, the USPTO requires a maintenance fee to keep your patent or registered trademark enforceable after it has been granted.

On the other hand, the European Patent and Trademark Office (EPO) operates under a different fee structure. Although the EPO covers a broader jurisdiction, its fees are generally higher. This is primarily because the EPO conducts a more detailed examination process, which often leads to higher patent attorney fees due to the complexity of the process.

Similarly, the Japan Patent and Trademark Office (JPO) also has its own unique fee structure and requirements. Understanding these jurisdictional nuances becomes vital when budgeting for patent filing costs. It’s advisable to thoroughly research each patent and trademark office’s fee structure and process or consult with a patent attorney due to the complexity of the process.

Is it Worth It to Rely on Professional Assistance?

Professional services can prove invaluable if you are a novice inventor or a small business aiming to protect your brand identity or business name. When it comes to understanding how to patent a name or navigating the complexities of the patent and trademark offices, these experts can guide you, greatly influencing your overall patent filing cost and the trademark application process.

The Role of Professional Services

The company’s professional services, comprising patent attorneys and agents, assist with various federal trademark and patent application steps. They lend their expertise in conducting patentability searches, crafting the application, and responding to objections or rejections.

The initial step, the patentability search, is crucial to ascertain if your invention is novel and non-obvious compared to prior inventions. This search helps avoid filing an already-registered trademark application, saving time and money.

Next comes the drafting of the patent application, a complex task demanding technical knowledge about your invention and legal expertise. It is important to remember that patent claims, which define the scope of the exclusive rights granted to the legal entity by the patent, must be meticulously crafted.

Interacting with the patent and trademark offices during the examination process is an art of its own. Addressing objections or rejections from a patent examiner effectively necessitates an in-depth understanding of patent law and your invention’s specifics.

The Cost of Professional Services

The costs of professional services can vary widely based on the complexity of your invention and the level of service required. While these may seem like significant expenses, many inventors and trademark owners find the investment worth it, given the intricacies and importance of the process.

Mistakes in the patent application process can lead to many unfavorable outcomes, including application rejection, loss of existing trademarks or rights, or even legal issues. Hence, the costs of professional services are often viewed as insurance against these scenarios. They are seen as a valuable investment for protecting existing trademarks or ensuring a smooth trademark registration process for your business name or federally registered trademark. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

This section presents a collection of common questions and their answers to provide a further understanding of crucial aspects of patent filing.

How long does it take to get a patent, such as a utility patent, approved?

The timeline for patent approval can significantly vary based on factors like the complexity of the invention, the backlog at the patent office, and how quickly the applicant responds to office actions. The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) typically takes between 2 to 3 years to approve a patent, including utility patents, trademarks, or service marks. However, expedited examination procedures, albeit involving additional fees, are available and could potentially reduce the approval time to less than a year, especially for simpler tasks like registering a business name.

How can one mitigate patent cost when registering a trademark or filing a patent application?

One effective strategy to reduce patent costs, such as USPTO government fees, attorney’s fees, and other legal bills, is considering a provisional patent application. Provisional patent applications can help secure an early filing date at a lower cost. Conducting a comprehensive search for existing protected trademarks or patents can also help to avoid unnecessary rejections, amendments, and additional fees.

Can I file a patent application or register a trademark without the aid of a patent agent or patent lawyers?

Yes, it’s possible to register a trademark or file patent applications without professional help. However, given the complexity of intellectual property law and the procedures of the Patent and Trademark Office, it carries considerable risk. Errors could result in loss of trademark rights or potential legal challenges, which could increase your total cost in legal fees.

What differentiates a provisional patent owner from a non-provisional patent applicant?

A provisional patent application offers a more economical way to secure a filing date. However, a more comprehensive non-provisional patent application must be submitted within a year. This application will be reviewed by the Patent and Trademark Office and is crucial to the entire process of acquiring a patent.

How long is the typical duration for receiving federal trademark or patent approval?

The entire process of obtaining approval can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years, depending on the complexity of the invention and the Patent and Trademark Office’s backlog. For an additional cost, expedited examinations are available, which may speed up the final approval timeline.

Can I use software to manage my legal ownership of trademark rights and patents?

Absolutely. Certain software tools can simplify the patent application process and aid in effectively managing your trademark rights and patent portfolio. However, they don’t replace the expertise of patent lawyers or agents, and they might result in additional fees that will be part of the final cost of obtaining a patent.

Where Can I Find the Best Patent Products and Services?

LegalZoom, a premier provider of online legal solutions, offers various patent services. Their offerings aim to demystify the patent application process by guiding how to patent or trademark a name, navigating the patent office intricacies, or assisting with the application process. The objective is to make the process more accessible and manageable by offering services tailored to the customer’s needs.

Patent Application Packages

LegalZoom offers three patent application packages: Basic, Standard, and Premium. Each package accommodates varying needs and budgets, from registering a simple business name to more complex federal trademark registrations.

The Basic Package covers a preliminary U.S. patent search and consultation with a patent professional. This package is ideal for those looking to understand how to patent a name or service mark or navigate the landscape of registered trademarks.

The Standard Package could be more suitable for registering a trademark. It includes the Basic Package’s features and the preparation and filing of a provisional patent application. This package is intended for individuals or businesses with a clear idea of their invention who are ready to stake their claim on their exclusive rights.

The Premium Package is designed for inventors prepared to take the next big step. In addition to the features offered in the Standard Package, it includes non-provisional patent application drafting and filing. This package caters to those with more complex patent needs or those seeking a federally registered trademark.

The Value of LegalZoom’s Patent Services

LegalZoom helps protect inventors from costly mistakes through their services, making the United States patent application process less intimidating. Although these services cannot entirely replace a full-service patent attorney, they offer a valuable solution for inventors on a budget or those with less complex patent needs.

In summary, engaging professional services like LegalZoom can increase patent filing costs initially. However, their expertise and guidance can prove invaluable, transforming the potentially complex journey of securing a trademark registration into a more manageable task. It’s an investment that could be the difference between obtaining strong, enforceable patent or trademark rights and missing an opportunity.


Streamlining Trademark Registration Costs with Comprehensive Services

Navigating through the labyrinth of trademark registration can be daunting and potentially costly without the right guidance. That’s where comprehensive and cost-effective services like those from LegalZoom step in. They help streamline the process while minimizing expenses.

A Comprehensive Service Suite

LegalZoom’s trademark registration service guides businesses through every process stage and provides a full suite of tools for efficient registered trademark portfolio management. Among the invaluable offerings are detailed trademark search services. These ensure the uniqueness of the proposed trademark, lessening the risk of costly oppositions or legal challenges.

Complete Preparation and Filing Services

The comprehensive registration package includes the complete preparation and filing of trademark applications. It eliminates the need for costly external legal consultation, as experienced professionals handle the process. They provide personalized customer service to answer any queries during the application process, reducing potential delays or complications.

Customized Document Review

Understanding that every brand is unique and may face different challenges, LegalZoom offers customized document reviews. This invaluable tool provides an extra layer of protection by ensuring that the trademark application meets the USPTO’s complex requirements.

Post-Registration Trademark Monitoring

Post-registration, a crucial offering that significantly reduces costs in the long run, is the monitoring service. It protects an existing trademark by continually scanning for potential infringements, enabling swift legal action and lessening the likelihood of expensive legal battles.

Ultimately, such a comprehensive approach to trademark registration services provides a streamlined, cost-effective pathway through the complex world of trademarks. It is a one-stop shop for all trademark needs, reducing overall costs while ensuring robust brand protection.

Josh Fechter
Josh is the founder of The Product Company.