How much money do I need for patenting?

Question: How much money do I need for patenting?

Answer: The amount of money you need for patenting will vary depending on the type of patent application you submit. Fees may also vary according to the way you claim your ideas.

Typical Filing Fees for an Independent Inventor

The most common kind of patent filed for is a non-provisional utility patent. There are three basic fees (2012) for utility patents filed for in the United States:
  • $625 - $825 for the filing fee with no more than 3 claims, which is non-refundable whether or not a patent is granted. This is the fee to have your application "examined" by the USPTO and your patent application may be rejected.
  • $870 for the issue, which is paid after your patent was approved. You pay this fee only if your patent application was approved by the USPTO.
  • $565, $1425, $2365 for maintenance fees paid at 3 1/2, 7 1/2, and 11 1/2 years after your patent is granted. These fees maintain your legal protection.
  • Additional fees may be required.
The fees listed above are only intended to give you a ballpark estimate. They cannot reflect all the possible variations in filing and patenting. They do not include the cost of an attorney or patent agent. Also, these fees are subject to change, check the current fee schedule before submitting your patent application.

Yes, fees for a provisional patent are cheaper (currently $125) but the protection only lasts for one year and then you must file for a regular patent as described above.