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How much do patents cost?


The cost of patents is greater than the revenue they generate. “About 97 percent of patents generate less revenue than the patent costs."  Return on patent costs.  How much does it cost to patent an invention?  (Andy Gibbs, CEO of PatentCafe.com Inc., quoted in Celia Lamb, “New program at Sierra College aims to help would-be Pre Plastics,” Sacramento Business Journal, February 7, 2003)


$100,000 or more for worldwide patent rights.  “Getting even a simple patent approved -- a process known as ‘prosecuting’ the patent application -- can cost up to $10,000 domestically and $100,000 or more for worldwide rights…”  Cost of getting a patent. How much does it cost to get a worldwide patent?  (Jeffrey Labovitz, licensing office acting director, University of California at San Francisco, quoted in Chris Rauber, “Dr. Strange Glove,” San Francisco Business Times, December 5, 1997).  Discover more information about international patents or worldwide patents, more information about international patent protection, and more information about worldwide patent rights.

$70,000. Estimated cost for an international patent.  “Although most experts advise getting an attorney's help with the patent application, [inventor Eric] Teng tackled what he called a nightmarish task on his own. He said he paid about $4,000 for a U.S. patent and expects to pay about $70,000 for an international one.”  How much does it cost for a worldwide patent?  (Thuy-Doan Le, “Entrepreneurial spirit starts to pay off for Sacramento, Calif.-area inventor,” The Sacramento Bee, December 12, 2004)  Take a look at the successful outcome of inventor Eric Teng's Garlic Twist invention.

$10,000 to $100,000 for international patents. Estimated range of cost to obtain an international patent.  “Simply filing patents can be a costly and time-consuming process, making it imperative for small companies to be selective about what patents they file.  [The] financial considerations may make companies be selective about what they are protecting, which can be a good thing for the industry. [Filing] patents internationally can cost a company anywhere from $10,000 to $100,000.”  How much does an international patent cost? How much does a patent cost?  How much does it cost to file a patent?  (Sue Marek, “Healing the Patent Process,” Wireless Week, August, 15, 2005 citing information provided by Kimberly Chotkowski, senior patent attorney with InterDigital Communications Corporation, King of Prussia, PA, 610-878-7800, www.interdigital.com). Find more detailed information on international patents

$20,000.  Cost paid to patent custom ankle brace. “Arizona native Ernesto Castro, president of Mesa-based Arizona AFO Inc., was delighted to receive patent numbers 6,155,997 and 6,443,919 in 2000 for his custom ankle brace product and system.  However, he says, ‘The patent process takes time, professional guidance, patience and money.’  …In Castro's case, he says he pursued a patent for marketing.  ‘Doctors already were using my product before I started to look for an attorney,’ Castro says. He began his patent process in 1996, and received them four years and $20,000 later.” Invention patent cost. (Kathleen Davidson, Contributing Writer, “U.S. patent process takes time, money and guidance,”  The Business Journal of Phoenix, Friday, July 7, 2006)

$10,000 - $20,000.  Amount in patent and legal fees that a biotech company might end up paying to process a patent.  “The patent process also can be expensive. For example, a basic utility patent application filing fee is $330, plus a utility patent search fee of $540, an examination fee of $220, and patent maintenance fees due after three and a half years total $980, according to the USPTO Fee Schedule. In addition, most IP protection is territorial, so a U.S. patent or trademark only provides protection in the United States. Inventors need to apply for protection in every country the product will be used.  Few business owners know that just one product can require many types of protections, [John Calvert, an administrator with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s Inventor Assistance Program] said.  ‘There are so many things that can be protected. ... Business owners need to trademark their logos and copyright advertisements, and you can even protect the bottle your product is packaged in,’ he said.  ‘Together with legal fees, “a biotech company might end up paying $10,000 to $20,000 to have a patent written,’ [Todd Dickinson, executive director of the American Intellectual Property Law Association] said.” (Bridget Botelho, “Patents can be costly but crucial for businesses,” Atlanta Business Chronicle, February 8, 2010)


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$10,000 - $15,000.  Attorney fees charged for preparing a patent application. “[M]ost companies spend between $10,000 and $15,000 in attorney fees to prepare the application.” Patent attorney fees. (Dean Turman, patent attorney at MacCord Mason, Greensboro, North Carolina quoted in Michelle Cater Rash, “Restructuring raises patent fees, could hinder startups,” Business Journal Serving the Greater Triad Area, April 11, 2005)  

$10,000, on the low end, to file a patent.  “But [Ronald J. Riley, president of the Professional Inventors Alliance USA] and other small inventors also knock the present system:  High legal bills -- inventors can expect to spend $10,000, on the low end, to file a patent; most of that is attorney's fees.” How much does it cost to file a patent?  What is the cost of a patent?  (Akweli Parker, “Inventor's reality,” Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, March 23, 2006)


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$10,000.  Potential cost of prosecuting a domestic U.S. patent application.  “Getting even a simple patent approved -- a process known as ‘prosecuting’ the patent application -- can cost up to $10,000 domestically and $100,000 or more for worldwide rights…” Patent application cost.  How much does it cost to get a patent?  (Jeffrey Labovitz, licensing office acting director, University of California at San Francisco, quoted in Chris Rauber, “Dr. Strange Glove,” San Francisco Business Times, December 5, 1997)

$10,000.  Cost range to patent a complex electronic invention not including patent attorney fees.  “The patent application process is not cheap. Aside from hourly patent attorney fees ($150 per hour and up), filing fees, publication fees, issuing fee, and other fees can cost an independent inventor upwards of $5,000 to get a patent for a simple mechanical invention; a more complex electronic invention can cost more than $10,000.” How much does it cost to patent a product?  (Jodie Gilmore, “Patent attorneys offer expert guidance for inventors,” Vancouver Business Journal, August 23, 2002)  Find more information about the Vancouver, Washington law firm of Kurt M. Rylander Trial & Patent Attorney at Law PC.  Contact Kurt M. Rylander.

Less than $10,000.  Cost of maintenance fees over a patent's 20-year life span.  “Total maintenance fees over a patent's 20-year life span are less than $10,000. Even with the increased fees, the U.S. patent system still provides excellent value, regularly validating patent rights worth tens or even hundreds of millions of dollars. While the increased fees sting, saving a few thousand dollars in fees is not adequate reason to forgo a well-crafted claim web.”  Patent maintenance fees. Patent renewal fees. Patent maintenance costs. (Edmund J. Walsh and Michael T. Siekman, Wolf Greenfield & Sacks, “A web of protection: Coping with the new patent fee structure,” Mass High Tech: The Journal of New England Technology, April 1, 2005)

$8,000 - $15,000.  Cost to patent an electronics invention.  “If you've got a mechanical invention, [a patent will] cost between $5,000 to $10,000 including attorney's fees and filing fees. If you're talking about electronics, the cost goes up to more like $8,000 to $15,000. In the biotechnology industry, the cost is even higher.” How much does it cost to get a patent?  (Karen E. Klein, “If the Patent Reform Act Passes,” Business Week, May 23, 2007)

$8000.  “In all, the Nowells spent about $8,000 to bring [Brian Nowell’s] original Popsicle and dowel creation up to mass-market speed. The Nowells figure they will have to sell 25,000 Speedee Seeders to break even -- any profit afterwards will go into a college fund for Brian.”  How much does it cost to patent an idea?  (Penni Crabtree, “Invention is the easy part; marketing is the necessity,” San Diego Business Journal, December 21, 1992)

$8000.  Approximate cost to obtain a U.S. patent.  “The smaller firms have to gamble that the $8,000 or so to obtain a U.S. patent can bring in an extra million when it comes time to sell.”  How much does it cost to get a patent?  (Rick Martin, partner, Rick Martin, P.C., “Obtaining a patent can be worth the costs involved,” Mass High Tech: The Journal of New England Technology, February 4, 2002)

$7,000 - $10,000.  Example of what an uncomplicated patent can cost.  “But getting the product from idea to reality is never easy, inventors say. Time, money and industry knowledge are the big factors of success. For instance, an uncomplicated patent - just one part of the product-development process - can take 18 to 24 months and $7,000 to $10,000. Complex patent applications can cost much more…”  USA patent costs. Price range for patents. (Caryne Brown, “Making money making toys: how black inventors are bringing innovative ideas to the toy market”, Black Enterprise, November 1, 1993) 


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$7,000 - $9,000.  What an inventor can expect to spend to patent a relatively uncomplicated invention. "With a relatively straightforward, not especially complicated invention, they can expect to spend $7,000 to $9,000 to go through the process and it's about a two- to three-year process… We're trying to see what has the potential to be patented versus what is not. A lot of times, we know right off the bat. Other times, we don't have any reason to say it's not. Then we have [an in-depth] patent search done and we may find several patents that would make it not patentable."  (Tom Saitta, intellectual property group head, Rogers Towers PA quoted in Dolly Penland, “Protect your ideas,” Jacksonville Business Journal, March 16, 2007)

$6000.  “Between legal and government fees, acquiring a patent can cost thousands of dollars. But what is it really worth?  Diane B. Loisel, a Bowie nurse and part-time entrepreneur who paid a lawyer and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office $6,000 in 1986 to obtain a patent for a cap device used in neonatal respiratory therapy, thinks the effort wasn't worth very much.”  Her story is also featured in The Complete Idiot's Guide to Cashing in on Your Inventions, by Richard C. Levy.  (Jennifer Caspar, “The Relentless Task Of Patent Protection; Entrepreneurs Face High-Cost Challenges,” The Washington Post, December 11, 1989)

$5,800.  Cost to file a patent in Texas.  “According to the American Intellectual Property Law Association's 1997 economic report, it costs an estimated $5,800 to file a patent in Texas. But this figure doesn't include fees charged by lawyers and other companies that provide help acquiring patents.”  (Jason Roberson, "Keeping ideas to yourself can be costly," Dallas Business Journal, June 15, 2001)

$5,000 and $20,000.  Cost of a patent using a patent attorney.  “The costs can add up, too. Even without using a patent attorney, fees will exceed $1,000. Working through a patent attorney can bring in a bill between $5,000 and $20,000...” (Thomas Loop, Loop Intellectual Property Law, PLLC, quoted in  Doug Cooley, “A bent to invent,” Puget Sound Business Journal, July 26, 2002)

$5000 - $15,000.  “Patent attorneys are expensive — it's not unusual for the patent process to cost inventors $5,000 to $15,000.” (Don Dedelak, “How To Find A Company To Make And Market An Invention” Entrepreneur, April 1, 2001)

$5000 to $7000 in attorney’s fees for a simple patent application.  “Attorneys' fees on a simple patent application are in the $5,000 to $7,000 range, usually spread over a year and a half to two years. Typically, the fees cover the attorney's patent search and expertise in presenting the paperwork in a form acceptable to the Patent Office. Patent applications that do not strictly conform to filing regulations will be kicked back for revision or denied altogether. You can save money on a patent attorney if you do preliminary work on your own.” (Caryne Brown, “Making money making toys: how black inventors are bringing innovative ideas to the toy market”, Black Enterprise, November 1, 1993)

$4000 for a U.S. patent.  “Although most experts advise getting an attorney's help with the patent application, [inventor Eric] Teng tackled what he called a nightmarish task on his own. He said he paid about $4,000 for a U.S. patent and expects to pay about $70,000 for an international one.” How much do patents cost? (Thuy-Doan Le, “Entrepreneurial spirit starts to pay off for Sacramento, Calif.-area inventor,” The Sacramento Bee, December 12, 2004)  Take a look at the successful outcome of inventor Eric Teng's Garlic Twist invention.

$4000 standard patent application fee (1999).  [T]he U.S. Patent and Trademark Office gives [independent inventors] … a half-off price break on the standard $4,000 patent application fee, [even though] independent inventors submit just 14% of the applications received in an average year.  Cost of patenting an invention.   (Cyndia Zwahlen, Special To The Times, Los Angeles Times • Home Edition • Business, Wednesday February 10, 1999, p. 5)

$4000.  Cost of filing and maintaining (2003).  “They've come for the monthly meeting of the Inventors Council of Dayton, part support group, part classroom for local independent inventors. They're here to share information they've gathered on new ways to promote their inventions, to bemoan the rising cost of filing for and maintaining a patent -- approximately $4,000, up from $200 in 1981 -- and to boast about the products they're sure are going to change the world.” (Heather Martin, “Independent inventors face long, costly fight,” Dayton Business Journal, January 31, 2003)

$3500 to $5000.  Cost for a simple utility patent available to inventors under the nonprofit IWI PatentSaver Plan.  "For a simple utility patent in the U.S.,  the average cost to our Inventors Workshop member inventors through the PatentSaver plan, is $3500 to $5000."  Average cost of patenting an invention.  Average cost of a patent. How much should you pay for a patent?  Average cost to patent an idea. What is the average cost to prepare a patent application?  (Alan Tratner, president of Inventors Workshop International Education Foundation, a nonprofit inventor assistance organization based in Santa Barbara, California, September 2, 2007)

$3,500.  Cost of maintenance fees to keep a patent in force over its lifetime.  “The U.S. patent office has set fees. For small entities - those with fewer than 500 employees - the costs include a $150 filing fee, a $250 search fee and a $180 examination fee, plus $700 if a patent is awarded. The patent office also charges $500 to $1,000 for appeals, as well as maintenance fees of $3,500 to keep a patent in force over its lifetime.” Cost of maintaining a patent.  Patent maintenance fees. Patent renewal fees. (Cyndia Zwahlen, “Long Road to a Patent Can Pay Off in Profits,” Los Angeles Times, April 19, 2006).

$3000 to $20,000.  “A patent application typically costs upward of $3,000 and can easily run more than $20,000, depending on the complexity of the patent and whether an inventor chooses to hire a patent lawyer (as opposed to a patent agent) to write the claims.” (Julia Feldmeier - Washington Post Staff Writer,, “Any Bright Ideas?; How Local Inventors Try to Capitalize on That 'Aha!' Moment,” The Washington Post, March 4, 2007)

$3000 in patent fees over the 17-year life of a patent (1993).  “Utility patents are the hardest and most expensive to obtain - hard because the inventor must convince the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office that the invention is an original idea, expensive because it takes many months and several thousand dollars, whether or not a patent attorney is involved.  First, there is the Patent Office's fee schedule: a filing fee of $355, a patent-issue fee of $585, and periodic patent-maintenance fees, adding up to nearly 3,000 over the 17-year life of a patent.” What is the fee for a patent? Patent maintenance fees. Patent renewal fees. (Caryne Brown, “Making money making toys: how black inventors are bringing innovative ideas to the toy market”, Black Enterprise, November 1, 1993)

$2000 to $6000.  “Depending on the type, a well-written patent will run between $2,000 and $6,000.” (Rusty Cawley, “Patent Protection,” Dallas Business Journal, June 12, 1998)

$1600 to $6000.  Range of fees inventors may be charged by patent attorneys for adding 2-3 amendments to an inventor’s patent application.  “Prosecuting the Patent Application Before the USPTO.  Once the [patent application] is filed, it enters a prosecution phase.  In the prosecution phase, each Official Action issued by the USPTO generally results in the need for an Amendment to the application to be prepared. Such amendments typically cost in attorney fees between about $800 and $2000 depending upon the complexity of the required amendment.  During prosecution, it is possible that 2-3 amendments maybe necessary. Accordingly, one can spend an additional $1600 to $6000 for prosecuting the application. If the prosecution phase is successful the USPTO will issue a Notice of Allowance.”  (Jerry R. Potts Esq., “What Does It Cost to Obtain a Patent?,” 760-822-6201, Jerry RRPLF Potts, Esq., BasicPatents.com, Undated, downloaded Wednesday, June 11, 2008)

$1000 plus.  Cost of a patent without using a patent attorney.  “The costs can add up, too. Even without using a patent attorney, fees will exceed $1,000.”  How much does it cost to get inventions patented?  (Thomas Loop, Loop Intellectual Property Law, PLLC, quoted in  Doug Cooley, “A bent to invent,” Puget Sound Business Journal, July 26, 2002)

$1000.  Cost to patent a side-to-side playground swing invented by 6-year-old boy and approved by the U.S. Patent Office.  “Warning to little children on playgrounds everywhere: when playing on a swing set, do not swing side to side. That method of swinging has been patented.”  Peter Olson, the father of the 6-year old boy who patented the invention (patent 6,368,227), says that parents and children around the world can rest assured because the family has no plans to enforce the patent.  Olson, a patent lawyer for 3M, used the exercise to teach his son how the patent process worked, “said that he was extremely surprised that the idea made it through the patent process, and at not too high of a price. The whole process ended up costing only about $1,000, and the family only saw the idea rejected once.”  Price of a patent. (Mark Reilly & Jim Martyka, “Inventions reflect innovation, patience, even humor,” Minneapolis / St. Paul Business Journal, August 16, 2002).  Learn more about the fascinating world of kid inventors.

$1000.  Base filing fee for patents restructured after the Consolidated Appropriations Act. “On Dec. 8, [2004] President Bush signed the Consolidated Appropriations Act. Included in the act were changes to the patent filing fees, which took effect immediately.  Among the changes was a restructuring of the base filing fee from a flat fee of $790 to three separate fees totaling $1,000, a 26.5 percent increase.”  New patent fees. (Michelle Cater Rash, “Restructuring raises patent fees, could hinder startups,” Business Journal Serving the Greater Triad Area, April 11, 2005)

$1000.  Patent office fees for utility patent.  “Filing fee: $300. Search fee: $500.  Examination fee: $200.”  See also U.S. Patent and Trademark Office 2007 fee schedule. (Liza Casabona, “Fighting Knockoffs By Protecting A Brand,” WWD Women’s Wear Daily, February 1, 2006)

$600 to $700 per hour.  Estimated range of hourly fees charged by intellectual property attorneys in Los Angeles and New York.  “It's also important to note that there are two factors in determining the cost of protecting an item. There's the cost of registrations with government organizations, as well as the legal fees associated with getting help to file those registrations.  Legal fees vary from firm to firm. Some industry sources estimate that in New York and Los Angeles, attorney fees range from $600 to $700 an hour. That rate differs according to the size of the law firm, the services offered and its specific fee structure.” (Liza Casabona, “Fighting Knockoffs By Protecting A Brand,” WWD Women’s Wear Daily, February 1, 2006)

$600.  Cost for a prior art search.  “But [the cost of filing a patent] doesn't include fees charged by lawyers and other companies that provide help acquiring patents. For example, searching prior-invention art before filing can cost $600; preparation of formal drawings about $500 for four sheets of drawings; preparation of formal papers to accompany the application, $200; Patent Office filing fees, $400; attorney time in responding to the U.S. Patent Office, $1,500 to $2,000 for each office action, with an average of two actions per case. Additionally, the Patent Office requires insurance fees.” (Jason Roberson, “Keeping ideas to yourself can be costly,” Dallas Business Journal, June 15, 2001)

$500.  Patent office search fee costs for utility patent.  “Search fee: $500.”  See also U.S. Patent and Trademark Office 2007 fee schedule. (Liza Casabona, “Fighting Knockoffs By Protecting A Brand,” WWD Women’s Wear Daily, February 1, 2006)

$430.  Patent office fees for design patent.  “Filing fee: $200. Search fee: $100.  Examination fee: $130.” Total adds up to $430.  See also U.S. Patent and Trademark Office 2007 fee schedule. (Liza Casabona, “Fighting Knockoffs By Protecting A Brand,” WWD Women’s Wear Daily, February 1, 2006)

$300.  Patent office filing fees for utility patent.  “Filing fee: $300. Search fee: $500.  Examination fee: $200.”  See also U.S. Patent and Trademark Office 2007 fee schedule. (Liza Casabona, “Fighting Knockoffs By Protecting A Brand,” WWD Women’s Wear Daily, February 1, 2006)

$200 to $300 for a patent search (1999).  “Most independent inventors pay $200 to $300 for a professional to search the files at the patent office in Virginia. Although that's not foolproof, either, an all-clear at that point is enough for most inventors to proceed with an application.”  (Cyndia Zwahlen Los Angeles Times, Wednesday February 10, 1999, p. 5)

$200.  Cost of filing and maintaining a patent in 1981.  “They've come for the monthly meeting of the Inventors Council of Dayton, part support group, part classroom for local independent inventors. They're here to share information they've gathered on new ways to promote their inventions, to bemoan the rising cost of filing for and maintaining a patent -- approximately $4,000, up from $200 in 1981 -- and to boast about the products they're sure are going to change the world.” (Heather Martin, “Independent inventors face long, costly fight,” Dayton Business Journal, January 31, 2003)

$150.  Cost of a patent filing fee for small entities.  “The U.S. patent office has set fees. For small entities - those with fewer than 500 employees - the costs include a $150 filing fee, a $250 search fee and a $180 examination fee, plus $700 if a patent is awarded. The patent office also charges $500 to $1,000 for appeals, as well as maintenance fees of $3,500 to keep a patent in force over its lifetime.” Patent maintenance fees. Patent renewal fees. (Cyndia Zwahlen, “Long Road to a Patent Can Pay Off in Profits,” Los Angeles Times, April 19, 2006)  Find more information on patent filing fees.

$100.  Cost of a provisional patent.  "In 2007 the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office ended it disclosure document program which now makes it more important than ever to perform a search and file a provisional patent application to protect your invention.  Under the new fee schedule a provisional  patent now costs $100."  (Alan Tratner, president, Inventors Workshop International, a nonprofit inventor assistance organization based in Santa Barbara, California, September 2, 2007)

$100.  Cost of a provisional patent.  “GenoMed originally filed a provisional patent application [on an insulin-laced toothpaste which could replace the use of insulin shots for some diabetics] in October 2003. The $100 [provisional patent] application held the concept for GenoMed for one year, giving the firm time to develop the concept and gather more data. On Oct. 20, 2004, GenoMed paid $10,000 to file a nonprovisional patent application, which allows the firm 17 years to work out the concept before having to sell it. The approval process takes three years from the time the nonprovisional patent is filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.” Read an update about GenoMed's insulin toothpaste. (Leigh O'Keefe, “GenoMed laces toothpaste with insulin for diabetics,” St. Louis Business Journal, July 29, 2005)  Contact the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for information about provisional patent applications.  provisional patents  Learn more about provisional patents.

$75.   Cost of a provisional patent prior to the 2002 fee hike by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.  “At only $75, provisional patents may seem like a great bargain, but they have a big drawback: You must apply for the more expensive utility or design patent (applying for a standard utility patent costs $355) within one year of submitting your provisional patent in order to get standard patent protection. Otherwise, you'll lose your patent rights.” Provisional patent application.  (Don Dedelak, “How To Find A Company To Make And Market An Invention” Entrepreneur, April 1, 2001)


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25 hours.  Average time it takes for an attorney to write a patent.  “Once a patent lawyer has enough information about the invention, he or she files a patent application, which takes an average of 25 hours to write and costs about $10,000.”  (Bob Wise, president of the Texas Inventors Association quoted in Erin Quinn, Tribune-Herald staff writer, “Making an invention idea a reality can be a hard road, Waco-Tribune Herald, Monday, December 10, 2007)

20 hours. Time it takes for an experienced attorney to write a patent for a simple invention. “[Francisco Rubio-Campos, founding partner at Eclipse Group, an intellectual property law firm in Los Angeles] estimates that an application for a simple invention can take an experienced attorney 20 hours to write. The hourly rate is $250 to $400 or more for many Los Angeles-area [intellectual property] attorneys.”  (Cyndia Zwahlen, “Long Road to a Patent Can Pay Off in Profits,” Los Angeles Times, April 19, 2006)  Find best-selling books on leading intellectual lawyers as well as a directory of intellectual property lawyers & patent agents)