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Costs of Obtaining a Patent

The most significant cost of obtaining patent protection is attorney fees, with government fees being secondary.  Most patent attorneys bill on an hourly basis, and it is often difficult to accurately estimate the length of time which will be spent on a project.  Many different parameters, such as the type of technology involved, knowledge about prior art, etc., can significantly affect the cost.  Despite these uncertainties, clients must have some understanding of the costs involved to decide whether patent protection is worthwhile for any given invention.  Without going into too much detail, here are some typical numbers, for a small entity:

In total, most U.S. patents involve expenditures of ten to twenty thousand dollars or more over the twenty-year life of the patent.  However, rather than incurring the cost at once, this total cost can be broken into stages: 

     -  Preparation/filing of Provisional patent application:   $500 or more

     -  Patentability search/opinion:  $1000 or more

     -  Preparation/filing of Non-provisional patent application:  $5000 or more

     -  Prosecution of patent application:  $2500 or more

     -  Maintenance of patent after issuance:  about $4000.

Design patents generally cost about half as much. 

Foreign patent protection will typically run half to two-thirds as much as the U.S. patent, on a country-by-country basis (i.e., patent protection in ten foreign countries can cost $50,000 or more).

All costs given are exemplary only, and represent neither an estimate nor a quotation for any project or work previously or subsequently performed. 



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