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ARC IP Law Patent FAQ's


Why should I get a patent?

To exclude others from making, using, offering for sale, or selling the invention throughout the United States or importing the invention into the United States.

What does a patent allow me to do?

A patent provides a negative right, and does not actually give you the right to make, use, offer for sale, or sell an invention in the United States. A patent simply gives you the right to exclude others from making, using, offering for sale, or selling the invention throughout the United States or importing the invention into the United States. For example, even if you have obtain a patent for your invention, you may require other approval (for example from the Food and Drug Administration, or from another inventor who has a patent on something that your your invention uses) to actually make, use or sell your invention.

What kind of patent should I get?

Provisional patent application - Does not mature into a patent, i.e., is not examined, but provides an additional year in which to file a utility patent application.

Utility patent application - Protects a process, machine, manufacture of an article or composition of matter, what it is or how it works.

Design patent application - Protects the ornamental design of an invention, i.e., how it looks.

Patent Cooperation Treaty application, "PCT application - Creates a unified procedure for filing patent applications in most countries or "contracting states". The application has a search performed with a written opinion to the patentability of the invention. Optionally, a preliminary examination can also be requested. The PCT application does not grant itself, but requires entry into each desired country or region, where the authorities in that country or region examine the application, which then may grant as a patent if the application is allowed.

Foreign patent application - Protects the invention in foreign countries. See also PCT application above. One may file a U.S. patent application and then one or more foreign patent applications within one year. Alternatively, by filing a PCT application, one may delay filing foreign patent applications for an additional time period, e.g., generally 18 months. This allows you to delay costs until you determine whether you would like to pursue foreign patent applications.

Should I file a provisional patent application, utility patent application or patent cooperation treaty application?

This depends on what your business goals are, what business you are in, what your budget is and many other factors. Generally, if you would only like to sell your invention in the United States, then at some point you should probably consider filing a U.S. utility patent application.

How long does patent protection last?

Generally 20 years from the filing date of the U.S. utility patent application that has allowed, or 14 years from the date of issue of a design patent.

How much do U.S. patent applications cost to file?

Generally, as of September 2009, the United States Patent and Trademark Office official filing fees in the U.S. are $110 for a provisional application ($220 for a large entity of more than 500 employees), about $500 for a utility (about $1000 for a large entity of more than 500 employees), and about $230 for a design patent application. The fees can vary based on the size of the application or number of claims, etc. Our fees depend on how much time it takes us to write a patent application, and we need to speak with you to give you an estimate after reviewing your invention.

How much do U.S. patents applications cost to prosecute?

After filing a patent application, the task of getting a patent application allowed begins. That generally involves responding to an "office action" from a patent examiner and differentiating your invention from references that the patent examiner has cited. Generally each office action response takes us between a half day and a couple of days depending on how many references the patent examiner has cited and how large each one is. If your patent application is allowed, then you have to pay an issue fee and publication fee, which is about $1055 (or $1810 for large entity).

How much do U.S. patents cost to maintain?

Utility patents in the U.S. have three maintenance fees due at 3.5, 7.5 and 11.5 years. The fees as of September 2009 are $490, $1240 and $2055 at these points in time, (or $980, $2480 and $4110 for large entity of more than 500 employees).

How much do Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) applications cost to file?

Generally the official fees are higher than the U.S. fees, and can cost about $3000-$4000 (or more if the application is large). Our fees are related to writing the application and filing it. We need to speak to you to give you an estimate after reviewing your invention.

How much do Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) application cost to prosecute?

Generally, there may be amendments to make after receipt of the search report, and these amendments (such as an Article 19 amendment) depend on how much time it takes us to draft claims and file the claims. Each case differs, but generally about a day of our time is required.

How much do foreign patent applications cost to file?

Generally, foreign applications for the most part are more expensive than U.S. applications to file. This is not always the case. Applications such as European patent applications cost thousands of dollars to file. You should consider not filing a foreign patent application if you are not going to do business in that country or region.

How much do foreign patent applications cost to prosecute?

Generally, the fees associated with prosecuting foreign applications are roughly the same as prosecuting U.S. applications. This is not always the case, but gives you a good idea of the average costs. Each office action different and can vary widely as to the effort required to respond and the number of responses that are needed. If you are not going to sell you product in a foreign country, then you should consider not filing a foreign patent application.

How much do foreign patent applications cost to maintain?

Each country and regional patent has fees that vary widely. In some countries the maintenance fees are due every year (unlike the U.S.). We can give you estimates for the fees, but the fees change over time. In short, you should consider not filing a foreign patent application if you are not going to do business in that country or region.


Disclaimer - This FAQ has been created to provide general information and basic understanding of patents. We hope that this FAQ is informative, however, the information contained in this FAQ is not intended as legal advice and should not be relied on as legal advice. For legal advice specific to your business, contact an attorney. We welcome you to contact ARC IP LAW, PC if you have an issue that you wish to discuss. The information in this FAQ is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship and we are required to follow specific procedures before establishing an attorney-client relationship. In accordance with California laws, we are prohibited from guaranteeing the results you can expect from representation in any particular legal matter. ARC IP Law, PC will not be liable for any damages as a result of reliance on the information in this FAQ.