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Filing a patent application in the United States requires detailed documentation. The applicant must also pay the required fees based on the type of patent, the number of claims and other factors.

It’s important to review and understand the common fees associated with a patent application.

For most patent applications, applicants can expect to pay three different types of fees: legal fees for preparation and filing of the application; drawing fees for professional patent drawings; and government filing fees. The legal and drawing fees vary from case to case depending on complexity and other factors, but government fees are generally fixed dependent on the size of the applicant (large, small or micro-entity), the size of the application (number of pages), the total number of claims and the total number of independent claims.

Basic USPTO filing fees

For 2020, the basic large entity patent filing fees are as follows (small entity fees are reduced by 50% and micro-entity fees are reduced by 75%):

  • $320 for a utility patent
  • $220 for a design patent
  • $220 for a plant patent

Claim fees

Claims are the most important part of a patent application. They define what others are precluded from making, using, selling or offering for sale. An applicant is entitled to file a patent application with as many as twenty (20) total claims and as many as three (3) independent claims for the basic filing fee. Additional claim fees are as follows:

  • $100 for each total claim in excess of 20
  • $100 for each independent claim in excess of 3

Search and examination fees

These fees cover the cost of determining whether a patent application qualifies for protection. Search and examination fees include:

  • $700 for a utility search
  • $800 for a utility examination
  • $160 for a design search
  • $640 for a design examination
  • $440 for a plant search
  • $660 for a plant examination

These are the standard government patent application fees. Denied applications are subject to additional fees for the appeal process.

Additional fees may apply based on the size of a patent application, the need for a time extension, publication requirements, processing requirements, international patent protection, translation, extra copies, trademark fees, maintenance and reissue. However, businesses that qualify with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office as small or micro entities can enjoy reduced fees.

Carefully preparing a patent application with professional help can improve the chance of approval. For more information, contact an experienced patent attorney.