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Filing Fees For Non-Provisional Patents

How much are the filing fees for a patent application?

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The filing fee of a non-provisional utilty application, (design and plant applications have different fees), consists of one basic/initial fee and additional fees.

What Does The Basic/Initial Filing Fee Cover

The basic fee entitles the applicant to present twenty (20) claims, including not more than three (3) in independent form.

An additional fee is required for each claim in independent form which is in excess of three (3) and an additional fee is required for each claim (whether independent or dependent) which is in excess of a total of twenty (20) claims. If the application contains multiple dependent claims, additional fees are required.

Small Entity Filing Fee Discount

If the owner of the invention is a small entity, (an independent inventor, a small business concern or a non-profit organization), the filing fees are reduced by half if small entity status is claimed. If you are a small entity, you have to make or file a written assertion of small entity status in addition to paying the small entity filing fee. The written assertion may be a simple statement on a transmittal letter such as “Applicant claims small entity status.” Applicants claiming small entity status should make an investigation as to whether small entity status is appropriate before claiming such status. See - What Is A Small Entity? for more details.

Avoiding Errors In Filing Fees

To avoid errors in the payment of fees, it is suggested that the table in the enclosed patent application transmittal letter be used to calculate the fee payment.

In calculating fees, a claim is singularly dependent if it incorporates by reference a single preceding claim which may be an independent or dependent claim. A multiple dependent claim or any claim depending therefrom shall be considered as separate dependent claims in accordance with the number of claims to which reference is made.

The law also provides for the payment of additional fees on presentation of additional claims after the application is filed. When an amendment is filed which presents additional claims over the total number already paid for, or additional independent claims over the number of independent claims already accounted for, it must be accompanied by any additional fees due.

About Maintenance Fees

All utility patents that are issued are subject to the payment of maintenance fees which must be paid to maintain the patent. These fees are due at 3 ½, 7 ½ and 11 ½ years from the date the patent is granted and can be paid without a surcharge during the "window-period" which is the six month period preceding each due date, e.g., 3 years to 3 years and six months.

Failure to pay the current maintenance fee on time may result in expiration of the patent. A 6-month grace period is provided when the maintenance fee may be paid with a surcharge. The grace period is the 6-month period immediately following the due date. The Patent and Trademark Office does not mail notices to patent owners that maintenance fees are due. If, however, the maintenance fee is not paid on time, efforts are made to remind the responsible party that the maintenance fee may be paid during the grace period with a surcharge.

Fees are subject to change in October of each year - Current USPTO Fees.

For Your Reference Patent Rules Governing Fees

§ 1.16 National application filing fees, § 1.17 Patent application and reexamination processing fees, § 1.19 Document supply fees, § 1.20 Post issuance fees, § 1.21 Miscellaneous fees and charges, § 1.22 Fees payable in advance, § 1.23 Method of payment, § 1.25 Deposit accounts, § 1.26 Refunds.
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