How much does a patent cost? And why

As a clinic fellow, the question I receive most often is: How much does a patent cost? Unfortunately, this is not an easy question to answer. The exact cost of a patent is dependent on a variety of factors, so the best I can provide is a rough estimate. The cost of a patent can be broken down into two main types of cost: patent agent/lawyer fees and government fees. Since most of the IP Osgoode Innovation Clinic’s clients are interested in patenting in Canada and the US, this blog will focus on those jurisdictions.

Patent Lawyer and Agent Fees

Patent agents and/or lawyers are essential for acquiring a patent. In particular, these professionals help with the drafting and filing of the patent, which is an extremely technical process. Further, acquiring a patent can involve several back and forths with intellectual property office, where you negotiate with the government to determine the scope of the patent itself. A well-drafted patent can make a big difference and give the patent owner a much broader form of protection.

In Canada, the average cost of a patent can vary from CA $10,000 – $20,000. In the US, the average cost of a patent is similar, ranging between US $10,000 – $20,000 – though some sources claim it could cost upwards of US $40,000. The costs are dependent on several factors, including the complexity of the invention, the quality of the work, and the number of back and forths with the intellectual property office.

Government Fees

Government fees include the initial cost of the patent application and the yearly maintenance fees once a patent has been granted. A summary of the patent fees are illustrated in the table below. In Canada, a small entity is generally a business with less than 50 employees.

 

Canadian Patent Fees

Regular

Small Entity

Initial Application

$400

$200

Examination Fee

$800

$400

Final Fee

$300

$150

Maintenance Fee

(Year 2, 3, and 4)

$100

$50

Maintenance Fee

(Year 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9)

$200

$100

Maintenance Fee

(Year 10, 11, 12, 13, and 14)

$250

$125

Maintenance Fee

(Year 15, 16, 17, 18, and 19)

$450

$225

Total (without maintenance fees)

$1,500

$750

Total (with maintenance fees)

$6,300

$3,150

In the US, a small entity is generally a business with less than 500 employees. Micro Entities are those small entities that have fewer than five patent applications and whose income must be below a “Maximum Qualifying Gross Income” threshold. Note, the table below represents the fees for a utility patent.

US Patent Fees

Regular

Small Entity

Micro Entity

Initial Filing Fee

$300

$150

$75

Search Fee

$660

$330

$165

Examination Fee

$760

$380

$190

Issue Fee

$1,000

$500

$250

Maintenance Fee

(Due at 3.5 years)

$1,600

$800

$400

Maintenance Fee

(Due at 7.5 years)

$3,600

$1,800

$900

Maintenance Fee

(Due at 11.5 years)

$7,400

$3,700

$1,850

Total (without maintenance fees)

$2,720

$1,360

$680

Total (with maintenance fees)

$15,320

$7,660

$3,830

Patents are expensive, but they give the owner a powerful tool to stop others from making, using, or selling their invention (also known as a negative right). Patents give the owner a monopoly to commercially exploit their invention for a profit. Ultimately, the primary consideration should be whether the potential return is worth the investment.

Written by Ryan Wong, a second year JD Candidate at Osgoode Hall Law School. He is a guest contributor with the IPilogue and is one of the Student Coordinators with the Innovation Clinic.

 

 

 

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