What Do Patents Actually Cost?

How much does a patent cost? The US average is about $60,000.

The patent process involves two major phases. Patent “preparation” is when the patent is originally drafted and filed with the patent office, and patent “prosecution” is the back and forth that happens with the examiner. Typically, the patent preparation phase is what an attorney will quote a client, but it is often only 25% or so of the total.

The American Intellectual Property Lawyers Association publishes a bi-annual survey of the costs for patents, trademarks, and other IP-related services, including litigation.

Here is a breakdown of the median costs from the report:

Preparing and filing a typical patent (relatively complex): $12,000
Office action responses: $4000
Novelty search: $4000

Other things we need to consider:
USPTO filing fees: $800-1600 (depends on small/large entity status)
PCT filing fees: $2500-3500 (depends on page count for application)

An average patent takes 4.2 office actions to get allowed. Yes, some patents are allowed sooner, but many are allowed after 6-10 office actions. Also, remember that for every 2 office actions, a Request for Continued Examination (RCE) fee of $800/$1600 is incurred.

A pre-appeal conference is super useful in moving cases towards allowance, and this is approximately the cost of an office action response. This occurs in about one out of every two cases, but sometimes two or more times per case. My experience is that I use it almost one time per case on average. This adds a $800 appeal fee as well.

There is a possibility of a full appeal, which costs $10,500, but this only occurs in about 12% of the cases based on my personal experience of about 1000 cases.

The office actions is where a significant amount of expense is incurred.

Total costs:
Filing (including a search and USPTO/PCT fees): $22,250
4.2 office actions plus RCE fees: $17,550
Pre-appeal conference: $4,000 (75% likelihood)
Full appeal: $10,500 (25% likelihood)
Total prosecution costs: $24,175
Issue fees: $1800 (includes both attorney fees and USPTO fees)
Maintenance fees: $7600 (small entity prices)

Total: $60,525

Note: I included a validity/infringement opinion as an optional part of patent filing because competitive analysis/patent landscaping and claim charting for the invention at the filing stage is a BlueIron technique for crafting commercially valuable patents.

These numbers vary widely for each case. Some will be much, much higher, while some will be somewhat lower. It is not uncommon for a US patent to cost $80,000 or more, especially when you are trying to get patents that have real commercial value.


  1. Patent Prosecution Highway | BlueIron IP on November 8, 2015 at 8:50 am

    […] What does a patent actually cost? […]

  2. […] Each US patent costs, on average, $60K. This cost is completely funded by BlueIron, and we do not take equity in your company. We allow you to pay back the amount over the life of the patent, and you always have the option to buy out the financing. […]

  3. […] The cost of a patent is about $60,000. This is the total cost from drafting, prosecution with the examiner, to issuance and maintenance fees. Yet the value of a non-infringed patent that is in a competitive technology is often in the $200-500K range. When the patent is infringed, that patent is worth the commercial value of the infringement, which can be anywhere from $1-100M or even $1B range. The patent’s economic leverage is very much like an option contract. […]