If the Examining Attorney in the Patent Office is convinced that the filed application is new and inventive, the Examiner will issue a “Notice of Allowance” on the application. The Notice confirms that the application will issue as a U.S. Patent in due course if certain federal fees are paid to the Patent and Trademark Office. In most cases, this federal fee is on the order of $480 – $960, and corresponds to the printing, publication, and administrative costs incurred by the Patent Office in issuing the patent. In facilitating the issuance of the patent, additional drafting and attorneys’ fees are typically also incurred, which tend to be on the order of $1,500 – $1,800.
Upon issuance, the inventor is provided with a certified “Red Ribbon” copy of the patent, which contains the patent figures, description, and issued claims, and indicates to the public the owner of the invention and the rights he or she has been granted by the federal government. Copies of this patent are also provided to most of the U.S. Embassy Libraries in the major industrial countries of the world, and are also provided in numerous online public databases.
The inventor has exactly three months in which to pay the issue fee after a Notice of Allowance is issued. Unlike general prosecution with the Patent Office, this issue fee deadline is not extendable. Accordingly, if the inventor does not pay the issue fee within this three-month deadline, the Patent Office will close the file on the case and abandon the application. The patent will not issue, and the inventor would lose crucial rights in the invention. It is therefore most imperative that the applicant give prompt attention to the Notice of Allowance when it is delivered from our office.
After the patent issues, the owner has federal rights in the invention for twenty years from the original filing date, subject to minor variations. To keep the patent in force for the duration of this twenty-year period, the Patent Office requires payment of a maintenance fee at three incremental times: First, at three and one half years at issuance, the owner must pay either $400, $800, or $1,600, depending on whether the owner is a micro, small, or large entity. Second, the owner must pay a $900 / $1,800 / $3,600 fee at seven and one-half years after issuance, and lastly, the owner must pay a final $1,850 / $3,700 / $7,400 at eleven and one-half years from issuance. The maintenance fee must be paid by the stipulated deadlines to maintain the patent in force, as is federally mandated by the U.S. Patent Office.
In all, from undertaking the preliminary patentability search to securing the issuance of the patent, an inventor can expect to pay a figure ranging between $11,600 – $41,500, depending on the complexity of the invention. Portions of that amount are paid incrementally at different times throughout the application process, corresponding to the initial search, the preparation of the application, the prosecution of the invention in the Patent Office, and the ultimate issuance of the patent. Please review our detailed breakdown of our firm’s approximate fees for additional guidance in this regard.