Understanding Patent Costs
Let me try to help you understand the costs to file a patent.
With the America Invents Act, the US Patent and Trademark Office categorizes patent fees differently for individuals and organizations.
A first-time inventor would typically be classified by the US Patent Office with a status of "Micro Entity." The good news is that a Micro Entity has the lowest patent costs.
The following patent fees are for Micro Entities (a typical first-time inventor):
Utility Patent Fees:
* Filing, Search, and Examination Fee: ($70 + $150 + $180) = $400
* Issue Fee when patent is granted: $240
* Maintenance Fee due by 3 years and 6 months after the grant date: $400
* Maintenance Fee due by 7 years and 6 months after the grant date: $900
* Maintenance Fee due by 11 years and 6 months after the grant date: $1,850
Design Patent Fees:
* Filing, Search, and Examination Fee: ($45 + $30 + $115) = $190
* Issue Fee when patent is granted: $140 (was $255 in year 2013)
* No Maintenance Fee
Patent Status Categories
The following are more details about Patent Categories. Again, as a new inventor, you are considered a Micro Entity.
Regular. An organization with greater than $750,000 in sales.
Small Entity. Individuals, and organizations with fewer than $750,000 in sales.
Micro Entity. Individuals, and organizations with fewer than $750,000 in sales, and:
1) A Micro Entity has not been named as an inventor on more than 4 previously filed patent applications, other than applications filed in another country, provisional applications, or international applications for which the basic national fee was not paid
2) A Micro Entity has a gross income of less than three times the median household income (your income is less than about $120,000; the actual amount depends on the state you reside in; you can Google search "State Median Family Income")
3) A Micro Entity has not already assigned or granted a license of the invention to a company.
Hope this patent cost information helps.