Watch the money!

Watch the money!

Watch the money!

I recently co-presented a 3 hour seminar on intellectual property. The presentation helped make clear all the things inventors need to think about before deciding to file for a patent. One of which is cost.

Not only will you pay a patent practitioner to prepare your application and prosecute it on your behalf, you’ll also pay fees to the patent office. And the fees add up.

First, you need to determine whether you’re a large entity, a small entity, or a microentity. Large entities have more than 500 employees. Small entities are individual inventors, non-profits, institutes of higher learning, or companies with 500 or less employees. Microentities must satisfy the small entity requirement, plus must not have filed more than four previous applications, and must earn less than $150,000/year. The large entity fees are double the small entity fees. The microentity fees are half that of the small entity fees.  For instance, a large entity pays $260 to file a provisional application, a small entity pays $130, and a microentity pays $65.

Here is a breakdown of the fees due to the patent office for small entities:

After every step of the application, you need to think about whether it makes sense to go forward. Here’s an example. If your assigned patent examiner issues a final office action (i.e. the patent examiner has rejected some or all of your application’s claims), you have some options, such as filing a request for continued examination, appealing, or filing an amendment to the application. The patent practitioner will charge you for executing the chosen option. Perhaps after filing a provisional application, you started selling your invention or offered to sell it. If sales are not going very well, and you don’t anticipate sales picking up, or you’re not getting any prospective buyers for your invention, you may decide to forget moving forward with the patent application and save the patent practitioner costs. Perhaps you’ve received the patent, but after five years, sales aren’t going well. You may decide not to pay the remaining maintenance fees.

The bottom line? Be mindful of where your money is going. Do you think what you’re shelling out will be less than what you’ll rake in? Monetization of the patent is the ultimate goal, after all.


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