On May 14, 2012, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office proposed an increase in its patent fees for Fiscal Year 2013. As in most years, the fee increase is based on fluctuations in the consumer price index (approximately 2.9% this year). This means that the USPTO proposes to increase many of its basic fees effective October 1, 2012, including:
- utility patent application basic filing fee: $390 (increase of $10)
- utility patent examination fee: $260 (increase of $10)
- provisional application filing fee: $260 (increase of $10)
- extension of time fees: increased $20 after two months, $40 after three months, $60 after four months, and $80 after five months:
- maintenance fees: increased $30 at the first stage, $80 at the second stage, and $140 at the third stage.
Although the proposed increases reflect what the USPTO typically implements each year, this may be end up being atypical. First, the current fees already reflect a 15% increase that occurred in September 2011 in response to requirements of the America Invents Act. Second, the America Invents Act also gave the USPTO increased fee-setting authority, and the USPTO’s May 14 notice hints of future use of that authority by stating that “[AIA] Section 10 fee-setting will be addressed in a future proposal.”
The USPTO will accept public comments on the fee increases through June 13, 2012.