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Typical Costs Associated with Obtaining a Patent

    The topic of costs is a prime consideration, especially in today's economy.  One of the main reasons I am here is to try to make obtaining a patent more affordable to the common man, because it is clear to me that it is from the efforts of individuals that great industries are born.  This is a natural metaphysical phenomenon, owing to the fractal nature of the universe, and it necessarily follows that an organic entity created by a man will have a life cycle.  Just as individuals, cultures, governments, and other man-made organic entities experience a life-cycle, so too is it with companies.  And it is during the adolescent to mid-life stage of the company that you will create with your invention that it will provide the most benefit to our society and posterity.  However, before your company can reach adolescence, it must survive its infancy.  Old, well-established companies are geriatric in nature, they tend to not take risks, and the main benefits they provided to society have already been conferred.  Old companies main defense mechanism is to squash little baby companies before they get too big. 

    We believe that a person should seek a patent to derive a business advantage by which they can stop competitors from making, using, or selling their invention in the US.  Another good reason is to get the patent and try to sell the patent.  A patent also looks good on a resume, and if spending a couple thousand dollars to get a patent helps land a person a job they couldn't have otherwise have obtained that pays well, then I'd say this is a valid reason to seek a patent.  Patents are evidence of a creative mind, and companies like creative minds. 

    Below is a typical breakdown of costs associated with obtaining a patent in the United States through us as of October 2000.  If an individual is quoted prices that are much more, or much less than those listed, then something may be amok, and the individual may do well to inquire as to why the costs deviate from those listed.  

        Patentability Search            $ 500 - 1200        

    (US only)  We do most searchers for around $ 800.   You receive a formal written report, copies of relevant patent references, and a detailed cost breakdown of how much it should cost you to patent that invention, if it appears to be potentially patentable.

        Application Preparation     $ 2000 - 7000 +    

    This is normally the largest cost associated with  obtaining a patent.  For extremely simple inventions, and some Provisional Patent Applications, the cost may be near the $ 2000 figure.  Most typically, though, we charge for an invention of "average" complexity around $ 4000 to prepare an application.  This varies on the complexity of the invention, as the amount of time required to prepare the application determines the cost.  A new printing press takes more time to write up than a new fusebox.   We can often prepare a provisional application on a very simple invention for as low as $ 2100, including the filing fee.  Always get a commitment on price from who you hire.

        Filing Fee (to gov't)             $ 545                 

    For small entities.  This is the total of fees paid to government at the time of filing a non-provisional (regular) patent application.  


        Drawings                             $ 175 - 1200      

    This is for the preparation of formal drawings, when required, by a draftsman which comply with  all requirements set forth by the patent office for drawings.  For most inventions, it is about $ 450.  We sometimes do informal drawings as a courtesy for the inventor, which drawings are sufficient for purposes of examination of the  invention on the merits of patentability.  This can save money in the early stages when cash is short.


        Prosecution Fees        $ 0 - about $ 3500 +        

    Prosecution fees are what you pay your representative to amend and argue your case for you in the US Patent Office, if one or more of the claims or other aspects of the patent application are rejected or objected to.  Sometimes only one response is needed.  Sometimes, two are needed.  Occasionally, none are needed.  I tell inventors to budget for two responses at about $ 900 each for some typical inventions.  A typical amount might be around $ 2000 on  prosecution fees in a case where the issues are clear-cut.  Prosecution fees are spread out over the prosecution of the patent by your Practitioner, and may not be needed for about a year or longer after the case is filed.

        Issue and Publication Fee     $ 1050               

    This is the combined total for the fee you pay to the government, for the publication, printing, and issuance of your patent at the end.

    If you go through a law firm, you should expect to pay much more than the above prices.  I've heard all sorts of stories, like my client who paid a law firm in Michigan over $ 5800 and all he got was a patent search.   Then there's our client from Arizona who said he was quoted $ 3500 to have a provisional application prepared !    These situations are more common than I had realized.   We had a couple in California who were quoted $ 12,000 for a patent, which we did for less than half of that.   

    I believe that the best thing an inventor can do is to find a Practitioner who will give an estimate from which they will not deviate, just like any other common law occupation such as a plumber, roofer, or auto repair does.  It is also a good idea to ask for references of past clients.  We always provide references when asked by serious clients, and only request that if you use us to get your patent that you allow us to use you as a reference in the future when other prospective clients come knocking on our door.

    I hope this has helped.  If not, email us for answers to your specific questions.   If you would like a price breakdown for seeking to obtain a patent on your invention, please let me know. 

Thanks for visiting.

Kind regards,

Christopher J. Whewell, M.S.
Western Patent Group


or call (512) 763-1142 

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