On September 6, 2012, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office published an updated proposal to increase its patent fees for Fiscal Year 2013. After a prior proposal published in May, the new proposal has many fees going up even more than the original proposal. The changes include:
- utility patent application basic filing fee: $280 (decrease of $100)
- utility patent search fee: $600 (decrease of $20)
- utility patent examination fee: $720 (increase of $470)
- provisional application filing fee: $260 (increase of $10)
- issue fee: $960 (decrease of $780)
- request for continued examination: $1,200 for the first one (increase of $270)
- maintenance fees: increased by $470 at the first stage, $750 at the second stage, and $2,760 at the third stage.
The changes will increase the standard total filing, search and examination fee by $350 per patent application. However, the issue fee will go down by over twice that amount. So, a case that proceeds without any extra claim fees, request for continued examination, appeal, or extension of time would actually be less costly under the new regime.
After a patent grants, the cost savings will be lost. The new maintenance fees as proposed will total over $12,000 for the life of a patent.
Applicants who qualify as either a small entity or a micro-entity will be entitled to reductions in the standard fees listed above.
The proposal also includes substantial fees for the new inter partes and post grant review requests that are available under the America Invents Act.
The USPTO will accept public comments on the fee increases through November 5, 2012.