The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office recently released its Final Rule for Setting and Adjusting Patent Fees, as authorized under the America Invents Act. In announcing the new patent fees, the agency highlighted that its primary goals were to “optimize patent timeliness and quality; and implement a sustainable funding model for operations.”
For some patent applicants, the new patent fees will result in cost savings, for others the costs will rise. As noted by the USPTO, the routine fees to obtain a patent (i.e., filing, search, examination, publication, and issue fees) will decrease by at least 23 percent relative to the current fee schedule. In addition, applicants who meet the new micro entity definition will pay less than the amount paid for small entity fees under the current fee schedule for 87 percent of the fees eligible for a discount.
The fee for Requests for Continued Examination will increase 29 percent to $1,200. Second and subsequent RCEs will cost $1,700. Fees for extensions of time, large applications, and excess claims will also go up, with excess claim fees seeing the biggest jump.
Finally, current patent holders will also see fees rise. Maintenance fees will go up from 39 to 54 percent, depending upon the stage. For instance, First Stage Maintenance fees (3.5 Years) will now be $1,600.
With a few exceptions, the new rule went into effect on March 19, 2013.
However, this isn’t the last time fees will increase. The USPTO now has fee setting authority. Where the organization previously had to ask Congress to raise or lower fees, that authority now sits with the Director of the PTO.
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