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The Cost of Obtaining a Patent in the US

Written by Gene Quinn
Patent Attorney & Founder of IPWatchdog
Zies, Widerman & Malek
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Posted: Jan 28, 2011 @ 1:14 pm
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UPDATED: April 30, 2013

Estimating US patent costs is a difficult matter because so much depends on the technology involved.  Nevertheless, I am still routinely asked for ballpark figures and estimates, so what follows should give some guidance when budgeting through the filing of a patent application at the United States Patent and Trademark Office. It will also be helpful to review Patent Attorney Fees Explained and US Patent Office Fees.

First, it is essential to understand that the very nature of patenting an invention means that you have to have come up with something unique compared with the prior art.  There are challenges inherent in the description of what makes an invention unique, and the law is only getting more complicated.  Thanks to the United States Supreme Court, the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit and ever more regulations from the United States Patent and Trademark Office it has become more difficult over the years to create the type of written description and claim sets required.  You can still get a patent, and in fact obtaining a patent is getting easier than it was several years ago, but gone are the days that a worthwhile patent can be obtained for cheap.  With patent applications you will always get what you pay for.

It might be useful to start with a discussion of those types of things that will influence the anticipated cost of preparing and filing a patent application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office.  Obviously, among the most important considerations is the invention.  The type of invention and the degree of complexity is probably the single most important consideration that needs to be taken into account.

Inventors always want to believe what they have is relatively simple and can be easily described and that the entire project should take only a few hours.  The first clue that you are wishing for something that isn’t true should be that you are wishing!  In my experience many, if not most or even nearly all, inventors know deep down that the patent application process is a complex process.  If they have reviewed recent patents relative to the area of their invention they know that there is a lot of text, a number of drawings and the entire document is largely incomprehensible by anyone not thoroughly marinated in the intricacies of patent law.




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Indeed, the majority of inventions for most independent inventors range are typically somewhere in the range from relatively simple to minimally complex (see table below).  Having said that, if you are dealing with software or a sophisticated electronic device your invention is almost certainly at least moderately complex and more likely relatively complex (see table below).

If you are going to ultimately receive a patent you are going to need to file a nonprovisional patent application. Without knowing a good deal about an invention it is very difficult, if not completely impossible, to give reliable estimates as to likely costs associated with filing a nonprovisional patent application. Nevertheless, below is some rough guidance regarding what you can expect to pay in attorneys fees through filing of a nonprovisional patent application.  Obviously, I do not speak for the patent bar as a whole, so these are based on my own experience and work with inventor clients and businesses.  The examples are intended to be illustrative of the level of complexity, not to suggest that they would be patentable. Please be aware that the government filing fees of about $500 are the minimum, and filing fees can and do go higher depending upon the number of claims the application contains.  Professional drawings, which really need to be thought of as required, will typically add at least another $200 too $400 for a complete set drawings. It is also worth noting that virtually no invention is “extremely simple.”

Type of Invention Examples Attorneys Fees
Extremely Simple
electric switch; coat hanger; paper clip; diapers; earmuffs; ice cube tray $5,000 to $7,000
Relatively Simple board game; umbrella; retractable dog leash; belt clip for cell phone;
toothbrush; flashlight
$7,000 to $9,000
Minimally Complex power hand tool; lawn mower; camera; cell phone; microwave oven $9,000 to $10,000
Moderately Complex ride on lawn mower; simple RFID devices; basic solar concentrator $10,000 to $12,500
Relatively Complex shock absorbing prosthetic device; basic to moderate software / systems; business methods
$12,500 to $15,000
Highly Complex MRI scanner; PCR; telecommunication networking systems; complex software / systems; satellite technologies
$15,000 +

These are just ballpark figures, and attorneys fees through filing can certainly go well above $15,000 depending on complexity of invention and/or the need for and ability to acquire broad patent protection.

How much you will spend on a patent application also depends upon what it is that you want to do with the patent and whether there are realistic market opportunities. In the event there are realistic market opportunities you may spend more even on something that is simple to make sure that you have covered the invention enough to have a strong resulting patent. By way of example, you could probably find an attorney to write a patent for a business method or computer software for quite cheap, but a cheap computer related patent would not be nearly as strong as a patent application costing $20,000 or more. The devil is always in the details. Getting a stronger patent requires more claims and more attention to providing an adequate disclosure and describing as many alternatives, options, variations and different embodiements as possible. This, of course, requires greater attorney time and higher filing fees, which in turn requires more time spent working with the patent examiner to get the patent issued.

For some companies all they have is intellectual property, so they should budget more per application because without an exceptionally strong foundation there will be no realistic possibility to obtain broad patent protection and without strong patent protection there is not likely to be funding available.  That means you never get off the ground.  So in the biotechnology sector and in the software sector, where tangible assets are minimal, it is not at all surprising to hear of innovative start-up companies paying far 1.5 or 2 times the ballpark figures listed above.

In order to keep costs down inventors and small businesses will frequently look for ways to cut corners.  Sometimes the first corner that is sought to be cut is the foregoing of a patent search.  This is always a bad idea and generally turns out to be a big mistake.  In fact, I will only represent people who want to skip the patent search phase if they sign an agreement that sets out the dangers of choosing to forgo a patent search and that they have been specifically advised against proceeding without a patent search.  What does that tell you about the dangers that lurk?  If an attorney makes you sign such an agreement it is because they know that dangers lie ahead, and for those that do not do a patent search the dangers are substantial.  Worse, when the prior art is later located and the description is deficient because there really is nothing new described the client wants to blame the patent attorney.  This is a mess and I just don’t play in that sandbox.

A patent search is absolutely critical because it will give us an idea about whether it even makes sense to pursue a patent in the first place.  Patent searches do not come with guarantees.  The goal of a patent search is to reach the 80% level of confidence threshold.  To reach higher would take many thousands of dollars, and to reach near certainty would require millions of dollars, so the search that is undertaken is reasonable given the value of the invention.  It is also reasonable given that the prior art represented in patent applications filed for the first time within the last 18 months are simply not findable because they are required by law to be kept secret.  So a “no stone unturned” search is not possible and not economically wise.

Having said this, a professional searcher working with a patent attorney in combination will always be able to find prior art patent and pending applications that you did not know about.  Without knowing what is out there that can be found time is wasted focusing description and claims on aspects of the invention that have little or no realistic opportunity to be protected.  The searches we provide range from $1,000 to $2,400, and that is the best money that an inventor can spend in the process.  The search directs the entirety of the remainder of the patent project, or it could show there is no reasonable opportunity to obtain a suitably broad patent claim so the project should be abandoned, saving the inventor many, many thousands of dollars.

Another thing inventors can do to reduce costs is to first start by filing a provisional patent application.  A provisional patent application needs to disclose the invention completely as would a nonprovisional patent application, but the exact formalities are greatly reduced making it easier to prepare, meaning it costs less.  We can attach documents to support the originally drafted provisional patent application, and we focus on getting as much as possible into the document.  In my experience most inventors who pursue the provisional do so because they have made an interesting advance and want to protect what they can now while they continue to refine and work on the invention.  Done in that way a provisional patent application makes all the sense in the world because it gives you protection with respect to what you have presently and lets you continue to work to improve the invention over 12 months before you need to file a nonprovisional patent application.

The cost for attorney time alone for a provisional patent application is typically at least $2,000. The filing fee is $130 and drawings typically cost $100 to $125 per page, so a high quality provisional patent application for a mechanical or electrical device can typically be prepared and filed for under $2,500.  As with nonprovisional patent applications, the technology involved and the complexity of the invention do greatly affect the quoted price for a provisional patent application. For example, for computer related inventions and software the cost to prepare and file a provisional patent application is typically $5,000 plus the filing fee and drawing costs.  The increased cost for a high quality provisional patent application that deals with software is due to the reality that so much more information is required in these applications. You really need to describe the complete architecture of the system and drill down to the algorithms, routines and sub-routines. See A Guide to Patenting Software, Building Better Software Patents and Patenting Business Methods and Software in the U.S. Of course, these are just ballpark estimates.

The one thing that we have not yet discussed, which does play a role in any quote you will receive for either a provisional patent application or a nonprovisional patent application, is how many patents and published applications are found that closely relate to your invention.  When there are a lot of patents and published applications found that is said to represent a “crowded field of invention.”  As such, it will be necessary to make find line distinctions.  The more prior art innovations that need to be considered the more the work, and hence the higher the cost.

To review, perhaps a couple examples might be helpful. These estimates are hypothetical and assume a high quality application is filed with the intent of obtaining meaningful, strong patent protection.

Example 1: Computer implemented method for facilitating certain functionality via the Internet

  • Patent search with detailed patentability assessment = $2,400
  • Provisional patent application prepared and filed = $5,000
  • Filing fee to the USPTO = $130
  • Nonprovisional patent application based off provisional filing = $10,000
  • Filing fee to the USPTO for nonprovisional patent application = $1,200
  • Professional illustrations for nonprovisional patent application = $500
  • TOTAL COST through filing nonprovisional patent application = $19,230.00 (if provisional patent application is skipped the cost would be $130 less)

Example 2: Consumer electronics product

  • Patent search with detailed patentability assessment = $2,000
  • Provisional patent application prepared and filed = $2,500
  • Filing fee to the USPTO = $130
  • Nonprovisional patent application based off provisional filing = $7,500
  • Filing fee to the USPTO for nonprovisional patent application = $800
  • Professional illustrations for nonprovisional patent application = $400
  • TOTAL COST through filing nonprovisional patent application = $13,330 (if provisional patent application is skipped the cost would be $130 less)

Example 3: Mechanical tool

  • Patent search with detailed patentability assessment = $1,600
  • Provisional patent application prepared and filed = $2,000
  • Filing fee to the USPTO = $130
  • Nonprovisional patent application based off provisional filing = $6,500
  • Filing fee to the USPTO for nonprovisional patent application = $800
  • Professional illustrations for nonprovisional patent application = $400
  • TOTAL COST through filing nonprovisional patent application = $11,430 (if provisional patent application is skipped the cost would be $130 less)

The costs can add up quickly no doubt, and there will be post-filing costs once the Patent Examiner starts to examine the application filed, but those will be the subject of a future article.

Given the high costs associated with obtaining a patent some inventors either need to give up on the project, do it themselves or seek deep-discount providers, many of whom are not patent attorneys or patent agents.  You need to always remember that you get what you pay for, which is true in every aspect of life, so be careful with deep-discount providers.  Before going with such a deep-discount provider be sure and read Patent Application Costs: You Get What You Pay For.

For those who need to pursue protection on their own I have developed a self help system – The Invent + Patent System™ – for preparing and filing a provisional patent application. I have used this system with my own clients to collect information from them to help facilitate the application process. I have used this process to teach law students how to draft patent applications, and thousands of inventors have used this system to prepare and file their own provisional patent applications. While it is always better to hire a professional if you can afford it, I feel comfortable saying that my system is better than anything else out there, including any do-it-yourself books.

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Posted in: Attorneys, Educational Information for Inventors, Gene Quinn, IP News, IPWatchdog.com Articles, Law Firms, Patents

About the Author

is a US Patent Attorney, law professor and the founder of IPWatchdog.com. He is also a principal lecturer in the top patent bar review course in the nation, which helps aspiring patent attorneys and patent agents prepare themselves to pass the patent bar exam. Gene started the widely popular intellectual property website IPWatchdog.com in 1999, and since that time the site has had many millions of unique visitors. Gene has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, the LA Times, USA Today, CNN Money, NPR and various other newspapers and magazines worldwide. He represents individuals, small businesses and start-up corporations. As an electrical engineer with a computer engineering focus his specialty is electronic and computer devices, Internet applications, software and business methods.

 

 

43 comments
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  1. I generally agree with your estimates of costs to prepare and file a patent application. However, I believe you should qualify your application estimates with typical attorney hourly rates. In Los Angeles it is not unusual for partners to charge in excess of $600/hour which makes your estimates on the low side.
    It is also important to add to that discussion the potential costs and timing for prosecuting the application which can be an additional 50% -200% of the preparation and filing costs over a 2-4 year period These days prosecution typically requires 2-4 responses and often an RCE. Also, with restriction requirements the single application may end up as 2 or 3 applications with associated prosection cost.

    We could include another discussion of foreign filing and prosecution costs and of course there are maintenance fees and annuities.

  2. Would it be remiss to also discuss (at least in a ballpark sense) any type of enforcement or litigation expenses that may attach to the successful obtainment of a patent?

  3. Mike-

    Excellent points. I know some patent attorneys in NY that charge in excess of $800 an hour. I would be happy to hear estimates on foreign filings from folks. I don’t really have anything online that discusses that. I do have much of that information you mention in other articles (can only do so much with one) at:

    http://ipwatchdog.com/patent/patent-attorney-fees-explained/ (re: attorneys fees and premiums for metro areas and experience)

    and

    http://ipwatchdog.com/2008/09/03/new-us-patent-office-fees/ (re: post filing fees and post grant fees)

    These are linked in the opening paragraph of this article.

    I will circle back and update the above articles in the coming weeks.

    -Gene

  4. BD-

    Off topic a little bit for this post, but I say commence discussing. My sense is the AIPLA data is low in terms of averages.

    -Gene

  5. What happens with the expenses an individual pays in patent filing fees, search fees, attorney fees, etc. in regards to their personal income tax return? Or is it something that is handled after the patent is actually acquired?

    Jean

  6. Here is a similar story

    In simple words, “Patent filing” can be defined as a process of submitting an application in a patent office requesting grant of patent to your invention. If you wish to protect your invention in different countries, then you will have to submit a patent application in each of those countries. There are various options or approaches you may use to protect your invention in one or more countries. By understanding the various patent filing options, you can construct a patent filing strategy based on your business objectives and economic constraints. This articles attempts to provide an overview of the patent filing options you can use.

  7. Kent G Anderson looking help answer USA Patent answer 11/880,086 is there some free help ? even a graduate enjoys helping people , also FREE Help to fight for the brand FUTURE for people , and contingency FEE IP Theft

  8. Obviously, among the most important considerations is the invention. The type of invention and the degree of complexity is probably the .
    ==========
    Peter

  9. What kills me the most after reading this is the fact that the fees are so astronomically steep. I don’t see how it is considered reasonable rates.. no wonder those who generally gets the patents are the big corporations or those with money to blow in their pockets. Not to mention the fact that with all the so called regulations and requirements, it almost requires a rocket scientist to fill out the application due to the complexities involved. This all doesn’t begin to include the high fees that the lawyers require, usually up front, for filing the paperwork. IMHO, although I know it won’t happen, getting a patent on whatever new invention or idea shouldn’t be so “complex” as to have to hire someone like an attorney just to fill it out and file it.. it should be straightforward and simple and the paperwork filed by the person applying for the patent without having to spend enough money to buy a house in order to get it filed.. so much for living the dream.. kinda hard to do that with all the complexities of rules/regulations and high fees preventing the majority of the people in this country from being able to patent a product or idea that they actually created rather than wishing they could and letting someone else who has the money to come along and patent it for themselves. Big Brother at work…

  10. see cases 12 years Fighting http://www.uspto.gov search TTAB vs kent G anderson brand FUTURE ..for the people .
    I need business partners investors to save global people FUTURE ..
    best
    KGA
    Home 1-701-223-0639

  11. Donna-

    I certainly understand that the cost of obtaining a patent is a real cost and not to be taken lightly, but it is really unfair to say that the cost of obtaining a patent is “enough money to buy a house…”

    Truthfully, the patent expense is the smallest expense you will face if you are pursuing a path to set up a business to monetize the innovation. If what you are doing is trying to license the invention then there are smaller steps that can be taken initially short of spending a boat load of money. You should always start with a professional patent search to make sure the invention has a likelihood of being patented and reasonably broad claims obtained. Then you should consider filing a provisional patent application, which can be done for quite a bit less than filing a nonprovisional patent application.

    The moral of the story is to proceed responsibly while investing reasonable amounts given the stage you are at and the likelihood that the project will be an ultimate success, which needs to be constantly reevaluated.

    We have a lot of articles here on IPWatchdog.com about proceeding rationally and conserving funds. I suggest you take a look at:

    http://ipwatchdog.com/2010/09/03/business-responsible-inventing/id=12137/
    http://www.ipwatchdog.com/2009/09/06/the-patent-process-on-a-tight-but-realistic-budget/id=5475/
    http://www.ipwatchdog.com/2008/12/03/starting-the-patent-process-on-a-limited-budget/id=664/
    http://ipwatchdog.com/inventing/converting-your-inventions-to-dollars-and-cents/
    http://ipwatchdog.com/2010/08/31/keep-money-until-proof-of-concept/id=12347/
    http://ipwatchdog.com/2010/12/16/invention-to-patent-the-pitfalls-perils-and-process/id=13727/

    There are many others, but these will give you a lot of good information and each article contains links to other related topics.

    Best of luck.

    -Gene

  12. Gene,

    I know . . . this is a belated comment to this post, but I was curious as to how your estimates compare with what I often try to convey – with long winded explanations – to clients and prospective clients. I generally agree with your estimates, but often find that in the end, the costs exceed estimates. I generally approach this “inevitable” by “capping” fees not to exceed a certain amount for the project as a whole. If the client can swallow that, so can I, and the fact that my effective hourly rate for completing a project is reduced perhaps a $100 is a well calculated risk in the current economic environment. The client is satisfied as well – perhaps the project overan by several thousand dollars, but I have agreed in advance to write that off so the client is not stuck on the hook.

    My main comment to this post is with the title “The Cost of Obtaining a Patent in the US.” More accurately, it should be “The Cost of Filing for a Patent in the U.S.” The post doesn’t – as it effectively cannot due to the uncertainties with patent prosecution even in light of well searched prior art – take into account post filing costs and fees. Everything from Restrictions to substantive Office Actions on the merits all come with attendant attorneys fees and costs. Legal arguments, elections, claim amendments, divisionals, you know the story. I only advise the client on what it costs to get the application out the door and patent pending. After that, two things are certain: substantial waiting time and additional expense. Heck, even if no Office Action is issued and a N/A is issued as to each pending claim in the original application (yes, happened once in my life – don’t ask how), there are the issue and publication fees and the client must be ready to pay that.

    In any event, I will be certain to cite it in accompanying emails with retainer/engagement letters so new clients can confirm that I am not blowing hot air and seeking to take all of their money. As you note, “you get what you pay for” and that is what I tell them.

    Richard

  13. ok i saw that there was a mechanical tool but what about engines. i am currently designing and would like to get a patent on this but i didnt see a price

  14. Mitch-

    I sent you a direct e-mail. Please let me know if we can be of assistance.

    -Gene

  15. I am a control engineering student and will be graduating in a few weeks. I have come up with a mechanical mechanism that I’m looking into patent. I have just started looking into websites and blogs to learn more about the process and cost. I was wondering what kinds of things I would be able to do myself that would save on the cost. I already have a fairly nice portfolio of my design including drawings. I am new and an amateur in the patent field but I would like to heir any information that you feels important.

  16. I would like to know what advice do you give to an eighteen year old who wants to invent something that may improve on a design that is already patented and as an eighteen year old are their waivers or anything else that could reduce the fees. And one more question how safe is a patent attorney there are some that are not what I call in good standing who can also steal the designs for themselves ethics wise they shouldn’t but what advice as an attorney would you give to protect an eighteen year old’s dream?

    Thank You So very very much I really appreciate your time

    Sandy W.

  17. Legal fees our out of control $800.00 and hour? Really? Ridiculous

  18. Janie-

    While I agree with you that $800 an hour seems ridiculous there are companies that are all too willing to pay that amount.

    -Gene

  19. Dissapointed:
    I had a product idea that I have developed to store shelf quality. I have even used the product for years so I know it works.
    I have done some research and I now know I can realisticly make enough money off of each product sold over the net of 300% to 400% of manufacturing costs (made in the U.S.A.) I dont think this product will make me Rich but it will be relatively easy to sell and I can develop supporting products to sell with it over time. I also have all of the .com names registered for the product. I am ready to go with it.

    I even found a credentialed 20 year Patent Attorney with a record of defending Apple Corp. patents and has done patent evaluations for the USPTO. I have given him a comprehensive description and pictures of my product and he has told me that I have:
    1. Potential patents to the actual use and how it fits to the body, which is different than others.
    2. Potential patents to the process of making and forming the device.
    3. Potential patents to the formation of the actual features of the device, and how they operate in the water.

    He was nice enough to give me a discount for his services and still do a comprehensive patent on my product.
    His maximum total fee for processing the patent Application is $7600 including the Search.

    With all that said, I still dont have the money for the patents and after reading this artical, I dont even want to go through the patent process.
    It will still cost more to patent my product then it costs for Tooling up and First run Manufacting of my product. The more I read about patents the more I dont want anything to do with them.

    A couple Answers Ive never see are:
    1. What happens to your investment $ if you dont get the Patents, gone?
    2. What are the problems if I dont patent it and just start selling it (besides not being able to sell the business and someone else making one too), Can no one patent it after its been sold to the public anyway?

    -REX (even more dissapointed)

  20. REXRICH-

    You ask whether someone could patent your invention if you start to sell it without a patent. The answer is no. If you sell or publicly disclose you would prevent anyone from obtaining a patent outside the US immediately. In the US if someone else independently conceived they could file their own patent on their own work for up to 1 year. After that then your sale or disclosure would prevent them.

    The real problem is that if you start selling and are making money without a patent you have no ability to stop others. So if Big Corporation wants to copy what you are doing exactly and put it into their distribution chain they can do that. They can copy you exactly and put you out of business. Unfortunately, this happens. It isn’t personal, just business. There is no right to prevent others from doing something without some form of exclusive right.

    If you have something that is commercially viable and you can obtain a patent that is typically a wise decision.

    You may also want to consider licensing. Lambert & Lambert, for example, offers licensing on a contingency basis. See:

    http://www.lambertinvent.com/index.php?content=home

    Enhance Product Development also offers licensing services, as well as product development, but on a fee for service basis. Their work is good and at a much better price than many others (last time I checked). See:

    http://enhancepd.com/

    Good luck.

    -Gene

  21. Gene,

    I’ve been working to build up funds over the last few years with Davison design on a project. I’ve read good reviews and i’ve read bad reviews all across the internet. I’m just curious on what you think of this company?

  22. Eric-

    You might find this useful information:

    http://www.ipwatchdog.com/inventing/invention-promotion-companies/

    -Gene

  23. Is it recommendable for a business to make a provisional patent without making a patent search first? or should you do a patent search then a provisional patent. Also, if a patent is meant to be owned for protection purposed instead of enforcement purposes, is it okay to do a provisional patent for the first year of the business going live so the business is able to have the money to invest in a strong reliable patent? Or should a business not go live at all if it does not have a non-provisional patent files? I am a young entrepreneur (15) with a great team of 5 people who are working on developing an internet service that there is no known competition for, and I am the majority owner and the one in-charge of business decisions, so I was curious to see what the answers to the above inquiries are. Basically, we can’t afford to have a non-provisional patent filed before we go live, its just not within are reach. However, if we are able to get a provisional patent filed for 3000$, and then wait a year while our business grows to file a non-provisional patent, then it is much more feasible for me and the others to fit that 3000$ dollars to our disposal. Thank you in advanced for any responses, I truly appreciate any help.

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  25. Nick-

    If you can afford it the best route to take is to start with a search and then file a provisional patent application. The search will give you and your attorney/agent the ability to know what to focus on in the application. Not everything will contribute to patentability. What you want to find are the nuggets of the invention that will and build on those. Without a search you wind up describing everything as if it is equally important when that will not be the case. You also run the risk of not describing something important with enough detail.

    Once you have a patent application filed, even a provisional, you have a “patent pending.” So if the provisional you file is good then you should be able to move forward in the market. That is what many (if not most) inventors do.

    Of course, to give you anything other than general guidance I would need to know about your specific situation, so this isn’t legal advice, just general guidelines.

    Cheers and good luck.

    -Gene

  26. It may seem like the fees stated in this article are steep but i think they pale in comparison to attorney fee or litigation fee or settlement fee that may ensue if you ever have to fight for or defend your patent. I am in the high tech industry and I know a friend who invented and patented an idea in the computer security domain however once he received the patent and tried to sell products based on it, he was surprised to find out that his idea actually infringed on previous arts filed by big fortune 500 high tech companies. Lawyers of one of these companies filed suit. Long story short, he ended up selling his house (worth > 500K at that time) to settle the case.

    Agreed this is only a small anecdotal piece of information but this aspect of patenting/licensing is often overlooked by inventors and small business.

    In today’s world where giants like Samsung and apple duke it out in court over billions of $$ i wonder the chances of a small guy surviving in a specialized field are. Even the thought of litigation may spook most inventors away from inventing in the first place.

    Would love to hear the author’s thoughts on this topic.

  27. Gene,
    My question revolves around not knowing if I would need a patent, a Trade Mark, or Copy Right. I would be inventing something yes, however would not need manufacturing. I would use the invention in my work which would increase my value in my field and give me a monatary edge in my field. I just don’t want anyone else to be able to copy the idea thereby diminish the idea being exclusive to me.

    If you are able to respond, I truly appreciate it -
    Sincerely Karen

  28. Need heroes ,investors -legal representation fight Trademark cancellations- for years -save Global people rights ideas brand FUTURE .VS PEP BOYS ,Lincoln national Corp ,FUTURE ADS .. search .www.uspto.gov.trademarks application serial no 76259991 .76133905 .76690134 . http://www.futurevisionaries.com

  29. I would like to thank you for the post. Though the cost may be high it is likely worth it in the long run. Though How can u be sure that once you are going through someone to help get the patent that they wont just turn around and use the design themselves? what Protection is there for this?

  30. Hey Gene,

    Nice breakdown of the filing costs – not necessarily ‘obtaining’ costs, as someone mentioned. I do have one question, and this might not be important, but the article says it was updated April 2013. May I ask what the updates were, if they were just related to the filing fees, or the examples as well? Thanks for the information.

  31. JW-

    The update in April was largely to update the fees, both USPTO fees and patent attorney costs. Whenever I re-write I also take the opportunity to tighten up in places and expand the discussion in places to try and make the article more clear and informative.

    Thanks for reading.

    -Gene

  32. I’ve been reading this blog could you respond to Jill’s questions which have merit.

    As well, how to protect yourself from getting sued and losing your house even though you have a patent? Was this a fault of the lawyer doing a faulty patent job or just the nature of the business?

    Also, I am a Canadian and thinking of patenting a product I have not developed a pro type for yet due to costs. But in theory should work well can I still patent without a prototype? Should I consider a patent lawyer in the US or Canada as I would want the US covered under my patent. $800 per hour sounds ridiculous even though companies pay that many average people can’t afford those fees.

    The other question that has come up that hasn’t been answered is how to protect your patent from the patent lawyer or patent agent you are disclosing too so the idea doesn’t get ripped off? This I’m sure has happened and would like to know how to prevent.

    Any and all information greatly appreciated.

    Thanks.
    John

  33. John-

    There have never been any cases where a patent attorney or a patent agent has stolen an invention from a client or potential client. There are always inventors who will tell stories, but not a single verified case ever. An attorney stealing an idea or invention is a myth.

    The minute you seek the assistance of a patent attorney or patent agent the attorney-client privilege attaches even if you do not ultimately hire that individual or firm. An attorney-client privilege is much stronger than any confidentiality agreement and is why most attorneys or agents do not sign confidentiality agreements.

    A client that demands a confidentially agreement is one who is a novice and is already thinking about suing the attorney or agent. Many (including myself) simply refuse to work with those who as their first thought is “how can I sue you when things go wrong?” The invention to money path is long and risky. Most inventors do not make money for one reason or another. Those who at the outset are thinking about suing when things go wrong are a headache that no patent attorney needs.

    -Gene

  34. Gene,

    Thank you for the response. Though, I don’t agree that those wanting a confidentiality agreement are out to sue their lawyer but rather to protect their idea. It may be a novice action but most beginners that want to get a patent ask this question as they are just that a novice. My friend who now has a patent had the same concerns. He didn’t know how to handle this issue and this is why I’ve asked if there any unwritten rules in place.

    Is it a requirement to have a physical prototype first before applying for a search or patent?

    The other question I have to a second patent idea is that if I wanted to add a feature to a web browser that doesn’t currently exist would I have to know how to program software or hire someone that does to receive a patent on it. Or could I apply for the patent with that specific browser feature if a patent search come back clean?

    Any info appreciated.

    Thanks.
    John

  35. After reading these directions I’m so disappointed. There is no way we could come up with this kind of money. How disappointing.

  36. Lori-

    Getting a patent is unfortunately quite expensive, but the costs associated with actually inventing, building and taking a product to market are even greater than the cost of obtaining a patent. For even a simple kitchen gadget it can cost well over $500,000 not including patenting costs.

    Still, there may be a way forward even on a modest budget if you are willing to do leg work yourself, start the process and then try and find investors/funding. Take a look at:

    http://www.ipwatchdog.com/2013/09/21/starting-the-patent-process-on-a-limited-budget-2/id=45327/

    Hopefully that will give you some ideas.

    Best of luck.

    -Gene

  37. Hi. I have a great idea I’d like to sell to an existing company. I’m afraid that they will tell me no & then steal this idea & make millions. I have no interest in marketing this idea myself, I would just like enough money to get us out of debt & have a little extra from future profits. Is there any way to go about this besides patenting the actual product & then selling the rights to the company?
    Thanks-
    Robin

  38. If I get a US Patent and no foreign patents, will this protect me from, say, China duplicating my item and sell it in the US?

    China has a very bad habit of copying and selling here domestically.

  39. Are original board games and card games better off being patented, copyrighted, or both?

  40. Board games can be patented and there are also aspects that might be able to be copyrighted as well, so I would recommend you consider both patents and copyrights.

    Take a look also at:

    http://www.ipwatchdog.com/2011/12/22/patenting-board-games-101/id=21356/

    -Gene

  41. When it comes to board games, don’t forget your design patents! http://www.ipwatchdog.com/2013/08/06/strong-design-patents-the-power-of-color/id=44342/

  42. Good article Gene. I have an idea that Iam working on and briefly discussed it with a friend who works at the USPTO in Alexandria. He told me he did not find anything similar in the files he searched and that I should get a Patent Attorney. Which is good advise for me (I think). The fees are high for me but using your approach, “you get what you pay for”, I was thinking of sticking my hand in my retirement money to be able to fund the patent process. That being said, what recomendations would you give, or have you written anything else, on possible ways to help with obtaining funds to cover the patent process? I have read your “Do It Yourself Patents” and “Starting the Patent Process” articles.

    Thanks,

    Alex

  43. Alex-

    Take a look at these articles:

    http://www.ipwatchdog.com/2013/06/29/getting-your-invention-off-of-the-ground-with-crowdfunding/id=42567/

    and

    http://www.ipwatchdog.com/2011/06/01/funding-your-invention-get-started-with-crowdfunding/id=17527/

    The author is Mark Nowotarski. You can use the contact form at the bottom of his author page to get in touch with him. See:

    http://www.ipwatchdog.com/authors/mark-nowotarski/

    Mark assists inventors in putting together crowd funding to more forward. Best of luck.

    -Gene

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