Patent Fee Changes Taking Effect March 19th

Pursuant to the America Invents Act (AIA), adjustments to a variety of Patent Office fees take effect Tuesday, March 19, 2013.  In general, filing and maintenance costs are rising, while prioritization and post-grant review fees will be reduced.

Fee Increases:

Due to an increased examination fee, the total fees (filing, search and examination) for filing non-provisional patent applications will rise from $630 to $800 for small entities ($1,260 to $1,600 for large entities).

Likewise, maintenance fees for small entities will go up substantially, from $575 to $800 at 3.5 years, $1,450 to $1,800 at 7.5 years, and $2,405 to $3,700 at 11.5 years.  Maintenance fees for large entities are increasing from $1,150 to $1,600, $2,900 to $3,600, and $4,810 to $7,400 as well, respectively.

While small and large entity filing fees are rising, applicants should be aware, under the new AIA rules, of the ability to file as a micro entity, defined as a small entity, not named on more than four previously filed patent applications, with a gross income not more than three times the national median household income.  Micro entity applications, previously unavailable, are an effective way for qualified inventors and small companies to avoid the current filing fee increases.

Fee Reductions:

While filing and maintenance fees are rising, the Patent Office reduced fees for prioritization and reviewing issued patents.  Requests for prioritizing prosecution will be lowered from $2,400 to $2,000 for small entities ($4,800 to $4,000 for large entities).

For issued patents, filing fees for Ex Parte reexaminations will be lowered from $17,750 to $12,000, and total fees for Inter Partes review from $27,200 to $23,000.  Notably, the addition of a small entity fee for Ex Parte reexaminations should make them much more available to the general public and small businesses.  In particular, small entities may file for Ex Parte reexamination with a small entity fee of $6,000, effectively lowering the current fee by $11,750.

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