How much does it cost to patent an idea? – new 2024 update

In 2024 the US Patent Office has actually lowered some of their fees making the cost to file patents on your own less expensive than in prior years.   

There are two main ways you can patent an idea:

Method 1:  Write and file your own patent application (the cheapest way) - total cost about $1,000 for most inventors to get an issued patent (USPTO government fees only).  A provisional type application is  only about $150 $120 to file but this only stays pending for 12 months and is only a 'placeholder' type application. 

Method 2:  Hire a registered patent attorney or registered patent agent to write and file a patent application for you  - total cost about $5,000-$15,000 mostly in attorney billing time with about $1,000 of that from US Patent Office government fees.  The final cost will vary depending on the complexity of the invention and the type of firm you are working with.  In general, larger law firms may be more expensive than smaller firms or solo providers.   

If you choose to write and file your own patent application, the total cost of a patent is not that great.  In this case the only fees you have to pay are the official US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) fees.  For the typical invention and patent process, the cost of a patent looks something like this (updated 2024):

Cost to Patent an Idea - Patent Expense Sample Timeline

  1. File provisional patent application - USPTO fee $60 (updated for 2024) (for most inventors, assumes micro entity status)
  2. File non-provisional patent application - USPTO fees (filing fee, search fee, etc.) about $364 (assumes micro entity discount)
  3. Patent Issue fee - USPTO fee $250
  4. Maintenance fee (due 3.5 years after your patent is allowed) - USPTO fee $500
  5. Maintenance fee (due 7.5 years after your patent is allowed) - USPTO fee $940
  6. Maintenance fee (due 11.5 years after your patent is allowed) - USPTO fee $1,925

Please note these fees are spread out and they do not occur all at once.  A timeline might help visualize how much does it cost to patent an idea (also note this timeline has the older government filing fees so today's cost would be slightly higher) :

           

cost-to-patent-at-US-patent-office

(sorry this image above is out dated, see list above for new fees)

The cost of a patent shown above assumes that you are doing everything on your own and are not using a patent agent or attorney.  If you want to hire a patent agent or patent attorney (recommended) then you will have to add on their billing rates.  Most good patent lawyers will bill between $200-$500 per hour.  This means that to prepare a new patent application you will be paying between $5,000-$10,000 in attorney fees plus the USPTO government fees shown above.

cost-to-file-patent-attorney-charges

 

What are the risks to writing my own patent?

Many people write and file their own patents each year.  Some even do it very well.  However, the vast majority of patents written by non-professionals offer almost zero value and would be very easy to challenge or invalidate (assuming they can even get approved).   If you are serious about your new business then hiring an expert with at least 10+ years of patent experience is a good investment.  This person can help you get the strongest protection on your new idea adding tremendous value to your business.  I have even seen strong patent applications sell for $50,000+ even before they were examined by the patent office.   I would be honored to give you a free, no obligation estimate to write and file your patent.  Free Estimate Form

 

Want to learn more or get started writing your own provisional patent application?

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Suggested Next Reading:  Advantages and Disadvantages of a provisional patent

By Brad Fach
Google