Patent Office Raises Fees for First Time in 4 Years

There will be a change in fees from January 2018 at the US Trademark and Patent Office which will affect everyone from micro entities to larger ones.

While this is the first increase for four years, it’s something that inventors and companies across the US will need to take into account when apply for or disputing a patent in the future. The PTO cites the need to cover costs and help drive further investment to reduce the current backlog as well as a creating a decent reserve balance when it comes to their operational procedures. That’s going to be achieved in part by introducing new technology and taking on more staff to handle applications and reviews.

But what does it mean for inventors and companies on the ground who are looking to patent their new products in the future?

Well, for most it means an increase of 10% or so on the fee for patenting, depending on the size of the organization.

The big increase, however, is for anyone who wants to challenge an existing patent. That will be $30,500 for the review by appeals board, up a massive 33% from $23,000 for large, small and micro entities. While this might seem a huge increase, according to the PTO, it’s more in line with current practices and still significantly lower than going through the traditional court route, which is the only other option available if you want to challenge a patent.

The USPTO has classed many of the changes as ‘small’ increases. For example, if you’re a large entity, you’ll see the filing, search and examination fees go up by $120 while issue fees rise by $40 and excess claim fees are set to increase to $460. For a micro business, the Request for Continued Examination fee will rise by $25 for a first request and $50 for second or subsequent requests.

There has been a great deal of discussion on the trial fees, particularly for appeals, which the PTO originally wanted to be larger. The increase in the fee for asking for an inter partes review (IPR) from $6,500 to $15,500, for example, has caused particular concern but is much less than the organization intended before their consultation. Post grant or PGR requests are rising by $4,000 to $16,000. The PTO took into account public comments when setting their new fees and engaged with the  Patent Public Advisory Committee.

Fee increases at a glance:

  • Utility Patents (protects how a product is used and works): Up by 8% for all entities.
  • Design Patents: (protects how a product looks): Up by 26% across all entities.
  • Patent Trial and Review Fees: Up by 33% across all entities.

Should You Apply for Patent Now?

For any company or individual looking to register a patent, getting it done and dusted before the New Year will be a good idea. The new fees come into effect on January 16 2018. The time factor is particularly relevant for any company looking to file IPR and PGR petitions in the near future.

 

How To Guide – How to patent an idea