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“How Much Does A Patent Cost?”
A first question many inventors ask is “how much does a patent cost?”
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As second question might be “what am I paying for in those costs?”
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Listed below are examples of the costs as published by a patent association, a couple of general patent firms, a couple of typically priced patent firms, and three examples to provide better understanding of likely costs in the industry.  International costs ultimately are similar to lower and typical patent firm pricing when all is accomplished.
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Visual Cartoon Perspective Of Initial Patent Filing Costs
Shown are the major segments of patent service costs. With a little effort business and individual inventors can find quality patent services at the fees level and range that works for them.
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Fee Trends and Comparisons
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The mythical “Provisional Patent” is represented in the red area. Almost any patent work in this area will be substandard in providing the rights and protections inventors would expect. The legitimate Provisional Application is really much like a typical Non-Provisional Application with simplification occurring only in the application form, optional claims, and filing fee. Inventors wishing to use the Provisional instrument need to be able to distinguish between Provisional myth and Provisional law to ensure adequate protection.
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Examples Of Patent Preparation Fees
Below are a few examples of patent and intellectual property fees available by an internet search.  These sources are not necessarily endorsed, but simply represent examples of published fees.  These are provided below for convenience.  For details these and other sources of fee disclosure can be found on the internet.
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American Intellectual Property Law Association (AIPLA)
(Average fees from a professional association survey taken in 2007 and 2011)
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This association is one of the most objective sources of average patent fees which are established by survey among its membership.
Average Complexity – Initial Fees (or General Practice Firm)*, ***
$  3,210                        Patentability Search
$  4,502                        Provisional Patent Application
$  7,931 – $11,981       Non-Provisional Patent Application
$  2,157                        Design Patent Application
$  2,086 – $  3,889       Office Action Response
$  1,435                        Nationalization of Foreign Application
$     371                        Hourly Rate for 2012
$     926                        Trademark Application
$     461                        Copyright Registration
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Relatively Complex – Initial Fees (or Boutique Firms) **, ***
$  8,548                        General (10 page specification and 10 claims)
$15,398                        Biotech and Chemical
$11,482                        Mechanical
$13,684                        Electrical or Computer
Post Filing Office Action Responses **, ***
$  2,244                        General (minimum complexity)
$  4,448                        Biotech and Chemical (relatively complex)
$  3,910                        Electrical and Computer (relatively complex)
$  3,506                        Mechanical (relatively complex)
*    According to the AIPLA 2011 Report of the Economic Survey
**   According to AIPLA 2007 Report
*** Do not include USPTO fees. (Click For USPTO fees)
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Lower Priced Quality Patents
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Initial Fees by Fortress PATENTS / IP.
(Fortress PATENTS / IP Specific fees) *
$     395 – $  1,060       Patentability Search
$     140 – $  1,400       Provisional Patent Application
$  2,400                        Non-Provisional Patent Application
$     270                        Specialized Independent Claim 
$     800                        Design Patent Application
$     405 – $  1,400       Office Action Response (usual)
$     495                        Nationalization of Foreign Application
$     135                        Hourly Rate for 2012
$     335 – $      635      Trademark Application
$     400                        Copyright Registration
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Fee Trends and Comparisons
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Initial Fees by SIP Law 
(Example of a specific firm’s fees) *
$     300 – $     600       Patentability Search
$     400 – $  1,600       Provisional Patent Application
$  3,600 – $  6,000       Non-Provisional Patent Application
$     800                        Design Patent Application
$  1,100 – $  2,300       Office Action Response
$     600                        Nationalization of Foreign Application
$     240                        Hourly Rate for 2012
$     400                        Trademark Application
$     200                        Copyright Registration
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* Do not include USPTO Fees.  (Click For USPTO Fees)
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Typical Priced Quality Patents
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Industry initial Fee Perspective by Brown and Michaels, PC 
(This source provides average fees of a typical firm for a Non-Provisional Utility Patent) *
$  4,000 – $  8,000        Mechanical or Electrical (ave complexity)
$  6,000 – $10,000        Electronic or Computer (complex)
$  7,500+                       Biotech or Chemical
$  6,500 – $  9,500        Internet Business Method
$     100 – $     175        Each Diagram View
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Initial Fees by R. Patent Law 
(A typical patent firm’s specific fees) *
$  4,000                        Provisional
$  9,000 – $12,000       Non-Provisional – Utility
                                              ($20,000 total attorney fees through issue)
$  1,800                        Non-Provisional – Design
                                              ($  3,000 total attorney fees through issue)
$15,398                        Biotech and Chemical (relatively complex)
$11,482                        Mechanical (relatively complex)
$13,684                        Electrical and Computer (relatively complex)
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* Do not include USPTO Fees.  (Click For USPTO Fees)
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Non-Provisional Patent Preparation Fee Estimates
(Source reporting their experience of average fees for Non-Provisional Utility Patents)
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$  5,000 – $  7,000        Extremely simple 
(Electric switch, coat hanger, paper clip, diapers, earmuffs, ice cube tray, …)
$  7,000 – $  9,000        Relatively Simple
(Board game, umbrella, retractable dog leash, belt clip for cell phone, toothbrush, flashlight, …)
$  9,000 – $10,000        Minimally Complex
(Power hand tool, lawn mover, camera, cell phone, microwave oven, …)
$10,000 – $12,500        Moderately Complex
(Ride on lawn mover, simple RFID devices, basic solar concentrator, …)
$12,500 – $15,000        Relatively Complex
(shock absorbing prosthetic device, basic to moderate software / systems, business methods, …)
$15,000+                      Highly Complex
MRI scanner; PCR, telecommunication networking systems, complex software / systems, satellite technologies, …)
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These are fees for preparation through filing.  These fees do not include USPTO filing or prosecution fees.
Sourced from IP Watch Dog and the blog article “Non-Provisional Utility Patent Application,” Posted 12.29.2007
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Examples Of Invention Type And Filing Fees 
(Source reporting their experience of average total initial filing fees for Non-Provisional Utility Patents)
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Example 1^: Mechanical Tool 
$  1,600                        Patent search with detailed patentability assessment
$  2,000                        Provisional patent application prepared and filed
$     130                        Filing fee to the USPTO (less this if not Provisional Patent not filed)
$  6,500                        Non-Provisional patent application based off provisional filing
$     800                        Filing fee to the USPTO for Non-Provisional patent application
$     400                        Professional illustrations for Non-Provisional patent application
$11,430  TOTAL COST through filing Non-Provisional patent application
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Example 2^: Consumer Electronics Product
$  2,000                        Patent search with detailed patentability assessment
$  2,500                        Provisional patent application prepared and filed
$     130                        Filing fee to the USPTO
$  7,500                        Non-Provisional patent application based off provisional filing
$     800                        Filing fee to the USPTO for Non-Provisional patent application
$     400                        Professional illustrations for Non-Provisional patent application
$13,330  TOTAL COST through filing Non-Provisional patent application
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Example 3^: Computer App
$  2,400                         Patent search with detailed patentability assessment
$  5,000                         Provisional patent application prepared and filed
$     130                         Filing fee to the USPTO
$10,000                         Non-Provisional patent application based off provisional filing
$  1,200                         Filing fee to the USPTO for Non-Provisional patent application
$     500                         Professional illustrations for Non-Provisional patent application
$19,230  TOTAL COST through filing Non-Provisional patent application 
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^  Sourced from IP Watch Dog and the blog article “The Cost Of Obtaining A Patent In The US,” Posted 1.28.2011
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“What Am I Paying For?”
It is undeniable, that at first glance the cost of a patent can seem unrealistic, and inventors are encouraged to become informed and find the best value in achieving their wanted results.  
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Looking a little closer a the costs of patent preparation helps to find that justify costs and wisely make decisions of balanced value.  Opinion among inventors, patent professional, and others experienced in patenting may vary, but consider the following:
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Probably Pitfalls or Potential Profit – When considering writing your own patent or using an irrationally low fee service instead of a professional patent preparation and prosecution firm, weigh the value of your invention.  Ask if it is worth risking years of development or potential financial gain, by not using a professional service, when the value of a patent can turn on just one word, just one phrase, just one definition.  Most inventor think in terms of patenting their invention where most patent preparation professionals think in terms of patenting the invention and the broader inventive concept for greater patent value.  There are many other advantages of a professional patent preparer and prosecutor.  The costs of obtaining professional assurances, across the range of quality patent preparation, can seem reasonable in comparison to the likely lost value of invention protections, rights, and potential.
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Specialized Knowledge – Only 2.5% of attorneys and another 1.2% of patent agents are qualified to practice before the USPTO when considering the total number of attorneys of the United States.  The “Patent Bar” certifies attorneys and agents to properly represent inventors and those with proprietary interest in the invention.  This certification includes requiring these attorneys and agents possess the required technical skill; knowledge of patent law, court precedent, and USPTO tradition; and are vetted for ethical standing to represent other before the USPTO.  
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Not Black/White, But Idiosyncratic – Like other aspects of law, patent law complexity arises in part due to administrative interpretation of the law, court interpretation and precedent, idiosyncrasies, somewhat unannounced best-practices, and more that makes it nearly impossible for an inventors to gain an optimal patent result.  What is being paid for is opening up space in the demanding schedule and skill set of this very limited group to ensure the proper patent preparation, filing, and prosecution occurs to maximize invention patent protections, rights, and potential.
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Disciplined Effort – Most inventors and sponsoring businesses do not realize and most are unwilling to devote the degree of effort it takes to prepare, file, and prosecute a patent.  A proper patent is not just filling out electronic forms and filing.  It is hours and days spread into weeks of writing, contemplation, wit, and stratagem to properly frame and present an invention.  It is not just a document, a contract, a negotiation, but the creation of an asset.  Patenting is a brute force endeavor to grasp out of the hands of a sovereign government, competitors, and the market all the rights owed to an invention.  Working with a patent professional best ensures identifying and claiming all that is rightfully yours.  
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Better Use Of Time And Resources – Lastly, consider the greater value of the inventor or business inventor focusing their efforts on their existing business vision and strategies, market activities, as well as leveraging substantive “Patent Pending” claims.  The opportunity costs of diverting attention from what an inventor or business does best to self-file can be substantial.  Further the risk of lost invention potential are usually large in comparison to the fractional savings that might occur as compared to selecting professional patent representation.
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Fortress PATENTS / IP provides individual, business, and all other inventors with the perfect balance of uncompromised professional patent preparation and prosecution representation and services combined with best in industry affordability.

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