Patent cost is the most sensitive question to individual inventors and quite a headache for companies seeking for idea protection by means of invention patenting. All patenting activities are related to certain amount of risk, consisting of technological, commercial or investment factors. Naturally, patent applicants are willing to reduce or distribute said risks over time.
Patent cost - time distribution
Not all patent expenses have are met instantly at the very beginning. Actually, only a fraction of the patent cost is to be paid within first 2-3 years. If average expenses for a single patent range from kEUR 50 to kEUR 100, only 10 percent of this amount is to be spent during said initial application. In patent terms, it is called the international phase, i.e. when the patent application is prosecuted at WIPO. If the PCT application is filed, there is only filing and search charges paid to a single authority. Based on the Patent Cooperation Treaty , validation in each individual country (national level) is postponed for a period of 30(31) months, thus postponing the heavy expenses too.
Even more - for the first year it is possible to file just a national application, i.e. in a country with formal examination (no search). Such application costs just around EUR 150 (example - Lithuania). If the applicant manages to find funding, investment or is able to otherwise commercialize the idea, this one year priority period is very much suitable for that. After this period the patent could be transferred to international phase (PCT) by paying the above indicated 10%.
Professional charges in the priority and international phases
Patent agents or attorneys add significant amount to the patent cost. In the initial patenting phases the attorney charges are associated with drafting of the patent specification/drawings and filing of the priority and PCT applications. In the indicated 10% it corresponds to around half of it. Here it is best chance for possible savings on patent cost. For example, Lithuanian patent consulting company - IAM consultants, Ltd. applies 2-3 times lower patent drafting charges. Therefore at the very beginning of the patenting process, applicants are able to save around 30% of the costs.
The costly patent validation
Inevitably high patent validation costs are associated with the fact that all national validation work has to be done by local patent attorneys. The second factor is patent translations. When validating the PCT patent application, all description and claims have to be translated into national languages, whereas in regional phases (i.e. European Patent), the amount of translation is limited just to patent claims.
More information on patent cost
Patent cost is a very broad topic. Therefore, for extended information on patent cost recently we have launched a separate blog called patentcost.co.uk. All our readers and customers are welcome to give specific question on the topic there.