How Much Does it Cost to File a Software Patent?
The costs to file a software patent are often categorized into three categories: the United States Patent and Trademark Office filing fee, lawyer fees, and drawing fees. While utility patents generally require the same amount of money, design patents are a lot cheaper. A design patent application, in contrast, can cost anywhere from $500 to $10,000. These costs can be avoided by filing for a Design patent.
Electronic filing, search, and examination fees
When preparing a patent application, it is important to understand the different filing and search fees. Patent filing and search fees are divided into three categories, basic, electronic, and non-electronic. The fee is paid at the time of filing an application, and it must be paid by the due date to avoid a late-filing surcharge of $140. The fee amount may vary based on the number of claims filed and the size of the application.
As a start-up, a software patent can be costly. For a small start-up, the cost is in the short-term, which is approximately $5,000 to $10,000. The long-term costs, however, may be several thousand to ten thousand dollars, depending on the type of patent application and the age of the patent. Using a software patent application can allow an inventor to avoid these costs by preparing an application in the form of a provisional patent.
The first step in the process is to conduct a prior art search, which can cost up to $4,000. The prior art search will identify published or issued patents that are similar to yours. The results of the search can reveal barriers to registration and may help you determine the best course of action. The attorney will charge you about $1,500 to four thousand dollars for the search. The results of the search can help you decide whether or not to proceed with filing a software patent application.
For paper applications, the applicant is required to pay an application size fee of $400 if the total number of pages in the application exceeds 100. This fee will be waived for small entities. The fee amount is subject to change and is usually updated every October. The fees for filing a software patent are very expensive. To start the process, be sure to check the fees and prepare yourself for the costs.
The Office may offer a refund if the applicant pays a fee in error or pays too much. But, there are strict rules and regulations to comply with. Fees can’t be refunded if a person has changed his or her mind. So, if you want to change your mind, the Director may be able to offer a refund if you request it.
Design patent applications are much cheaper than utility patents
One reason why design patent applications are cheaper than utility ones is that they protect only the appearance of the invention. This is a disadvantage, since competitors may be able to invent something that looks similar to yours, and then copy it. Nevertheless, design patents are still cheaper than utility patents. In addition, they are often granted more quickly. While utility patents take two to three years to reach examination, design patents can take as little as six weeks to reach this point.
A design patent application is often filed close to the launch of the product. As the development process progresses, the inventor settles on a design. He or she may not be entirely satisfied with this design and may change it over time. This makes it important to submit a design patent application that accurately reflects the product. Similarly, the preparation costs of a design patent are significantly lower than those of utility patents.
A design patent application costs only $2,500 and requires a pre-examination search, Information Disclosure Statement, and an expedited examination fee. After filing, design patent applicants can request expedited treatment and have their patent examined in two to four months. As design patents are more visual, the process of obtaining one is less time-consuming. Applicants usually acquire several design patents for the same product.
When you compare the costs of design patent applications with utility ones, you’ll realize that the former is much more expensive. Nevertheless, it is still better to choose design patents when it comes to cost. Utility patents are more expensive because they require more components to be filed. A design patent costs less than half as much as a utility patent. For this reason, design patents are a great choice for smaller businesses and individuals.
Another important difference between utility and design patents is that design patents protect the appearance of an article and utility patents protect the material used to make the article. In general, design patents protect a product’s appearance, and the latter protects the material that makes it work. While novelty of the work is not relevant in design patent applications, it is important that the overall visual impression is new and not an obvious copy of another prior design. As a result, design patent applicants should consider a new language of describing the appearance of their invention.
Micro entity option is not worth the risk
While it may be tempting to file as a micro entity, doing so has its downsides. For starters, it can have a negative impact on the validity of your patent. Not only is it risky, but it can also lead to additional legal hurdles during the patent process. Besides, there are many countries that have different rules for micro entities. In 2013, the British government passed a new micro entity regime that largely excludes foreign companies, unregistered companies, and credit institutions.
In the US and UK, you need to have fewer than 500 employees. Additionally, you must make a certain amount of money. In either case, you cannot enroll as a micro entity unless you have a small business or fewer than 10 employees. Micro entities are also voluntary. Micro entities must disclose fewer details than other companies. For example, micro entities must disclose transactions at the bottom of their balance sheet.
While applying as a micro entity might seem more convenient for individual inventors, it can also be a costly and time-consuming process. Additionally, micro entities must be closely supervised by an attorney, which makes it impossible for a single individual to file for a software patent alone. A professional lawyer can help you navigate this process and determine whether it is right for your company. If you want an attorney who is familiar with micro entities, consider UpCounsel. There are thousands of attorneys in the United States who are dedicated to helping micro entities file.
When choosing a micro entity option, remember that it only applies to one patent. This means that you must file a separate certification for each application. Furthermore, you cannot be named as the sole inventor on more than four patents. If you change your mind, you’ll have to reapply to gain micro entity status on each of your patent applications. Moreover, you’ll have to pay for the renewals every time you file another application.
Reasons to budget more to file a software patent
While there are numerous benefits to filing a software patent, it can also be expensive. Patents can take up to two years to mature and are often outdated because code evolves rapidly. In addition, patent prosecution is expensive, and if you are planning on using one, you should consider its benefits before budgeting for it. The following are a few reasons to budget more to file a software patent.
First, rushing to file a patent application can waste money and time. Some companies have rushed into filing patent applications when they had just a concept. As they went along, they created prototypes, talked with investors, and refined their products, only to realize that the technology was completely different than what they initially thought. Consequently, the original patent applications became a sunk cost that was now an ongoing liability.
A software patent can protect your idea and reduce the risk of unauthorized use. It is not cheap, and it will take time to understand and navigate all of the legal jargon. As a result, if you do not hire an attorney, the cost could be close to $10,000. The cost of hiring a patent attorney, however, should be less than ten thousand dollars. It is worth it to reduce the chances of the patent being denied, as a strong patent application requires knowledge, time, and attention to detail.
Because software evolves at a rapid rate, patenting new software can be a frustrating process. For start-ups, it is imperative to balance early protection against a viable application. However, software has seen a lot of runs through the U.S. patent office. As a result, new applications are often rejected due to duplicates, insufficient information, and ill-prepared submissions.