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Patent Attorney Fees
While you might have a great idea for a new invention, unless a patent is obtained for it, you won't have exclusive rights to make, use, and sell the invention. The patent process, however, is a complex one, involving extensive research and paperwork as well as an understanding of patent law, Patent and Trademark Office protocol, and scientific knowledge. As a result, most people hire a patent lawyer to help them obtain legal protection for an idea. Below you'll find information about what patent lawyers do and an explanation of how much it costs to hire a lawyer.
What Do Patent Lawyers Do?
Generally speaking, patent attorneys help clients file a patent application and get a patent. In practice, that means providing assistance in the following areas:
- Patent search: Once you have an idea for an invention, the next step is performing a patent search to determine whether similar inventions have already been patented. It's common for inventors to do a preliminary search on their own, although at some point, you should have a professional search performed by a patent attorney.
- Narrow the patent scope: If an existing, patented invention similar to yours already exists, a patent law attorney can help to narrow the scope of your patent to define what is unique about it. In the meantime, a lawyer can file a provisional patent application (“patent pending”) on your behalf, which is a useful, inexpensive tool.
- Prepare and file the patent application: A patent application contains many parts, including a description of earlier inventions similar to yours (“prior art”), an outline of your new invention, a description of your invention's practical applications (“preferred embodiment”), and legal descriptions of your invention (“claims”). Preparing the patent application is where the expertise of a patent lawyer really comes into play.
- Refining and resubmitting the application: It's not uncommon for initial patent applications to be rejected by the Patent Office. When this occurs, it's by no means the end of the road. Instead, you'll work with a patent attorney to amend the patent application and resubmit it until it is, hopefully, accepted.
Patent Lawyer Average Costs
Patent lawyer cost varies based on your geographical location and the attorney's credentials. With that in mind, you can expect to pay somewhere around $100 to $500 or more per hour, with mean hourly costs being closer to $250 to $450. In major metropolitan hours, however, patent lawyer fees could be double this amount.
In terms of total patent attorney fees, you might pay approximately $5,000 to $10,000 for a simple invention, $10,000 to $15,000 for a moderately complex invention, and $15,000+ for a complex invention.
It's possible to handle the bulk of the patent application yourself and only consult an attorney on specific matters. For example, a professional patent search might run you around $500 to $1,500, while getting a patentability opinion from a lawyer would cost approximately $1,000 to $2,000.
In addition to the actual patent attorney cost, you'll also need to pay patent filing fees (individually ranging from hundreds to thousands of dollars) and drawing fees (around $75 to $150 per patent drawing). For more information on patent filing fees, visit the official website of the United States Patent and Trademark Office.