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Patent office boosts fees for filings and challenges

Those contesting the validity of an existing patent will see biggest increase

by Glenn Hess
November 21, 2017 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 95, Issue 47

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has revamped its fee schedule for the first time in over four years, raising most patent fees by roughly 10%. PTO says the increases, which will take effect on Jan. 16, 2018, will help cover the office’s operational costs, reduce its backlog, and grow a reserve balance.

The most significant change is for inter partes review, the widely used proceeding that allows alleged infringers and others to challenge the validity of an existing patent. Petitioners before PTO’s Patent Trial & Appeal Board will have to pay fees totaling $30,500 for such a review. That’s up from $23,000 under the current fee schedule, a 33% increase.

“These fee adjustments seek to more closely align fees and costs,” PTO says. The cost of challenging patent validity before the appeals board will remain “significantly less than court proceedings for most stakeholders,” the office adds.

The increases in patent application filing, search, and examination fees are smaller. For a business with more than 500 employees, the “large entity” filing fee for a utility patent will rise $20 to $300; the search fee will go up $60 to $660; and the examination fee will increase $40 to $760.

For design patents, the large-entity filing fee increases $20 to $200; the search fee will rise $40 to $160; and the examination fee will go up $140 to $600.

A utility patent protects the way an article is used and works, while a design patent protects the way an article looks.

Patent fees rising

Each patent application requires payment of basic filing, search, and examination fees.

Current Fee for Entities Fee for Entities starting Jan. 16, 2018
Large Small Micro Large Small Micro % Change, all entities
Total patent application fees a
Utility patent $1,600 $800 $400 $1,720 $860 $430 8%
Design patent 760 380 190 960 480 240 26
Total patent trial and review fees b 23000 23000 23000 30500 30500 30500 33

a Includes basic filing, search, and examination fees.
b Includes intra partes review request and post-institution fees. Extra fees apply for more than 15-20 claims.
c Small entity status applies to independent inventors, universities, nonprofits, and small businesses with up to 500 employees. Micro entity status applies to inventors who qualify for small entity status, but also have a gross income less than three times the current gross median income and have applied for no more than four patents previously, or have an association with an institution of higher education.
Source: U.S. Patent and Trademark Office


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