Introduction to Patent costs
Patenting your idea in the UK yourself is quite cheap. However once you go international the fees can get huge. If you choose to use a patent attorney then that can also be very expensive. But don't be put off - remember the rewards! Patents can be very valuable documents indeed. The record price for a patent for £2.25 million for a method of internet shopping sold at an auction in London in 2007.
Fees to file a UK patent at the UK IPO are £30 for the examination and £100 for the initial search to be made within 12 months of applying. The substantive examination needs to be made within 18 months of filing and that fee is £70. This is cheapest route you can get away with. On the 4th anniversary of the filing date the patent must be renewed and every year after that. The fees for renewing in the 5th year are £50. It then goes up every year until the 20th year which costs £400. 20 years is the maximum period you can hold a patent.
For your UK application, Patent Attorneys generally charge between £1000 and £2000 on top of the patent office fees to write and file your patent application. Generally it is likely to cost around another £2000 to pursue your patent to the point of being granted. This is because there will be communication back and forth with the examiner arguing your case for granting your patent. Patent attorneys generally charge around £200 an hour.
European Patent Office fees are £1200 for the application fees, assuming all member countries are designated, and then £1000 official fee for the examination. Patent Attorney fees will be on top of this if you are using one. (They are likely to be similar to the fees for a UK patent application.) Once your European patent is granted it needs to be validated in the individual countries. English speaking countries are no problem however for non-english speaking countries, translation is required and is likely to be around £1000 per language.
World Intellectual Property Office fees are £1800 for the application fees and then £1100 official fee for the preliminary examination. The substantial examination stage is done in the regional or national stage. Costs vary. Patent Attorney fees will be on top of this if you are using one. (They are likely to be similar to the fees for a UK patent application.)
Filing a national application in another english speaking country is likely to involve a patent attorney and cost a similar amount to a UK application done by a patent attorney. National application in a non-english speaking country could cost £1000 - £2000 extra for translation fees.
Once your patent is granted in other countries renewal fees become payable. These vary so it is worth researching which countries to wish to patent in and what their individual renewal fees are.
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