How Much Does a Patent Cost? What You Need to Know Before Starting!

Patent's cost - how much does a patent costTo briefly answer the question, How much does a patent cost, it can range from $800 to over $100,000.

Knowing the answer to this is an essential step before moving forward with a patent application. The answer will depend on why you want a patent and what you are patenting.

This will determine your overall cost when filing your own patent application.

Therefore, the overall patent fees that inventors must consider do not just include the expense of applying for a patent. Other costs could include modifying, enforcing, issuing, and maintaining the patent.

The first step in knowing the overall patent’s cost is determining whether your idea is one of a kind. Let’s look at how a patent search can help you achieve this goal.

Patent Search Yourself or Hire Patent Lawyers

patent search yourself or have a patent attorney search for youTo know if your invention is patentable, a cursory patent search of pre-existing patented material is the next step.

Any identical prior art that could prevent registration will come up in this patent search. This can be an effective way for an applicant to save money on an idea that may not be patentable.

There are several ways you can approach the patent search. You can either search the idea yourself, or you can hire a patent lawyer to do it for you. Retaining a patent lawyer to perform the search will likely produce more complete results.

Performing a search to establish uniqueness yourself will require time and lots of research. However, obtaining this information for yourself can save you a few hundred dollars or even thousands of dollars on legal fees with a law firm. Regardless, it is always recommended that an applicant retain patent lawyers to conduct the search.

The US Patent and Trademark Office website is a great place to begin your patent search. The entire process can be found on this website, including knowing if your idea is one of a kind.

On the other hand, if you want to hire a patent attorney, the cost could range from $5,000 to over $100,000.

The patent attorneys have the experience and knowledge to determine the patentability of your invention.

Deciding Which Patent Application Type Will Determine Your Cost

patent application type will determine your patent costWhen filing a patent application, there are two distinct types of patent applications. Which are non-provisional patent applications and provisional patent applications. When filed and granted, they will establish different levels of protection.

While the costs associated with these two applications vary, provisional applications will serve as the cheaper option. This cheaper option does not ensure protection right away.

On the whole, this process can cost between $5,000 and $10,000+ depending on how smoothly the examination process goes.

Provisional Patent Application Cost

A provisional patent application is considered a cheaper, short-term approach to patent protection. A provisional patent application expires 12 months after its filing. It gives the applicant a one-year period to compile the data necessary to file a non-provisional patent.

An applicant looking to file a provisional patent application will likely incur attorney’s fees of around $2,000. These fees will go towards planning and drafting the application, communication with the US Patent and Trademark Office, and filing.

Additionally, USPTO fees will also apply: $64 for micro-entities, $130 for small entities, and $260 for large entities.

The USPTO charges additional costs of $100 to $400 per 50 pages for applications over 100 pages.

Non-Provisional Application Cost

To enjoy full patent protection immediately, some inventors skip the provisional patent application and file the non-provisional patent application right away.

If you do this, then you will save money by bypassing the provisional patent application. Your complex invention will be fully protected when full payment is received for your application.

Though costs vary across law firms, an applicant can expect to pay $7,000 to $14,000 for a non-provisional patent application.

What are the Maintenance Fees for a Patent?

pay maintenance feesIn addition to paying an attorney for drafting and filing fees, an applicant must then maintain the patent after registration. After a patent is registered, the patent owner must still pay maintenance fees at fixed intervals over the course of the 20-year patent life.

These payments ensure that the registration remains in effect and the encompassed invention is legally protected.

These fees are paid at 3-3.5, 7-7.5, 11-11.5 years after the issuance of a patent. The patent owner must submit payment at these intervals to ensure continued registration.

At 3-3.5 years, the owner must pay $1,600 for a large entity and $400-$800 for a small entity or a micro entity.

For 7-7.5 years, the owner must pay $3,600 for large entities and $900-$1800 for small or micro entities.

At 11-11.5 years, the owner must pay $7,500 for large entities and $1,850-$3,700 for a small entity or a micro entity. Updated fee schedules are available at the USPTO website.

Is a Provisional Patent Application Cheaper Than a Non-Provisional Patent Application?

A provisional patent application is a cheaper option. However, a provisional patent application does not grant legal protection for the applicant’s invention.

Within 12 months of filing, the applicant must either convert the provisional application or file a non-provisional. This patent protects the applicant’s proposed invention from infringement.

If this step is unnecessary, it would be cheaper for the applicant to file a complete non-provisional at the outset.

Patent Types Have Their Cost in addition to the Patent Applications

Another cost to factor in is the type of patent that will be filed. Knowing this will help you plan better for the attorney fees, legal bills (if any), and filing fees.

There are three types of patents your invention could fall under, and they each have their own fee. They are;

  1. Utility Patents
  2. Design Patents
  3. Plant Patents

Utility Patent Cost

utility patent samplesA utility patent application protects a novel idea, process, or method, and utility patent costs reflect that protection. Similar to a design patent, utility patents are included in a non-provisional filing. Costs associated with utility patents are variable depending on the firm, though they generally run between $7,000 and $20,000.

The costs associated with drafting and filing a utility patent application are typically between $5,000 and $10,000. This will not include any costs associated with the examination of utility patent applications. The remaining cost will accrue over the USPTO’s examination of the patent, correspondence with the applicant’s counsel, and necessary revisions.

About 1/2 of all costs are incurred at the outset of the utility patent process. This includes the drafting of the utility patent and the filing of utility patent applications with the USPTO.

Once the utility patent is filed, additional prosecution costs will be incurred as the examining attorney assesses the utility patent application. While this process is expensive, utility patent applications are valuable and can ensure substantial future profits. If an applicant has a novel idea, a utility patent is worthwhile.

Design Patent Cost

Design patentThe design patent cost will reflect the protection of the unique visual qualities for a pre-existing invention. An applicant should pursue this form of patent if they have created a new design for something that is already patented.

Design patents cost varying amounts depending on the representation, but they are typically between $1,500 and $3,000. A design patent may also incur additional costs if another inventor opposes its registration. A patent lawyer would then argue that the design patent should be registered with the USPTO.

Design patent costs reflect attorneys’ fees related to drafting and filing, as well as a governmental filing fee. Filing fees are $760 for large entities, $380 for small entities, and $190 for micro-entities.

Plant Patent Cost

plant patentThe plant patent cost can vary and will ensure legal protection. An applicant should pursue this patent if they have discovered or invented a new plant variety.

While the costs of an application vary depending on the representation, the total costs run from $5000 to $8000. These costs incorporate attorney’s fees associated with drafting and filing the patent, as well as USPTO filing fees. These fees typically cost between $360 and $720, with examination fees totaling $170.

Additional Fees During the Patent Process

During the patent process, there will be attorney’s fees, as well as other additional costs related to the application’s examination. Because attempting to patent a proposed invention is a complex process, required additional fees will invariably arise.

These are issued by the United States Patent and Trademark Office and detail suggested alterations from the patent examiner. Once the application is filed and the applicant is patent pending, responses from the applicant’s attorney will require further fees.

In addition to potential examination fees, prosecution fees may arise if another inventor disputes the application. As a result, the final cost of a patent process can be exorbitant. It is imperative that the applicant attempt to ensure patentability before retaining a patent attorney.

How Much Does it Cost to Patent Software?

software patentObtaining a software patent is a preferable option for applicants who have invented new computer software.

Filing a patent application for a newly invented piece of software, can incur a total cost of $6,000 to $12,000.

This will encompass legal fees associated with drafting and filing and a USPTO filing fee.

You may file a provisional or a non-provisional patent application for software. To protect the software, a provisional will need to be converted or a non-provisional patent application will need to be filed.

Cost Difference Between a Patent Agent and a Patent Attorney?

An applicant can utilize two representatives when filing a patent application: an attorney or a patent agent.

A patent attorney is a licensed legal professional who has gone to law school and can practice law.

A patent agent is a representative who has passed the Patent Bar through the USPTO. While patent agents can only practice patent law through the USPTO, they have specialized technical patent knowledge.

The patent office and examining attorneys will not treat an application differently depending on the representative who filed it. Whether an applicant chooses to hire an attorney or law firm or a patent agent, either representative will be qualified.

What is the Cost For International Patents

International patentsThe international patent application process differs from the US Patent and Trademark Office patent application process. If you retain a patent attorney, confirm they are knowledgeable of international patent law and can draft international patent applications.

The cost of an international patent application will vary depending on where the application is filed. For an application filed through the International Patent System, the cost ranges between $3,000 and $4,500. Additional fees can include transmittal fees, search fees to locate any similar prior art, and international fees, all totaling nearly $4,000.

The European Patent Office, Australian Patent Office and Israeli Patent Office all require further fees and bureaucratic processes.

Conclusion on How much Does a Patent Cost

With the benefit of knowing the price of your idea, you can take the crucial next steps. We are here to assist, whether you have chosen to handle this on your own or with legal representation. You will be guided step-by-step through the total process by our knowledgeable patent attorneys. We have a special offer of a one-time free phone consultation if you’re ready to begin. You are welcome to express any questions or concerns during this consultation. Simply schedule your free phone consultation today to get started.

Learn more about “6 Key Things You Need To Know About Patent” and “8 Steps You Need to Take to Obtain a Patent

Nothing in this blog will constitute legal advice. We conduct intellectual property law and assist those in need of intellectual property law representation. We retain patent lawyers that can guide an applicant through the patent process. To learn more on how much does it cost to patent your idea, please take advantage of our free consultation.

You may arrange a free consultation if you need assistance with patent litigation. We also provide service for patent infringement lawsuits. The average cost of patent litigation ranges from $350 to $600 an hour. The litigation cost depends on your case. Contact us to receive more information on patent litigation costs.


What is a poor man’s patent?

A “poor man’s patent” is the fallacy that an inventor can mail a description of their invention to themselves and acquire some legal protection. This is untrue, as this will not legally protect the inventor’s idea.

Is it worth getting a patent?

If an applicant has a unique, complex invention and is looking to protect it, acquiring a patent is worthwhile. Proceeding without a patent allows for other entities to utilize the invention with no legal repercussions.

Can I file a patent myself?

It is possible for an applicant to file a patent application themselves. However, it is always recommended that an applicant acquire legal representation, as the patent process is complex and mistakes are costly.

How much does a patent cost per year?

Patent costs do not accrue on a yearly basis. Patent fees are to be paid when the application is filed, and renewal fees are paid in installments at fixed intervals.

What is the cheapest way to get a patent?

The cheapest path to acquire a patent is to file a patent application oneself. However, this is not recommended as mistakes in the patent application process are costly. Additionally, the patent drafting process is intensive and requires specialized knowledge.

Why Filing a patent is so expensive?

Patent applications are costly because the process of drafting and filing one is expensive and intensive. Additionally, the benefits granted to a patent owner can be significant if the invention is utilized in, a profitable way.

How much does a 20 year non-provisional cost?

A non-provisional patent application should cost between $7,000 and $14,000. Prices vary depending on the law firm. The owner of a patent is protected for 20 years after filing a patent application.

What is the Cost of 12 Month Provisional Patents

Attorney costs for submitting a provisional patent application will likely incur attorney fees around $2,000. These fees will be used for application planning, drafting, communication with the USPTO, and filing.

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