Consider these cost-saving measures when filing patent applications
Given inventors’ sometimes long road from concept to successful product or idea, worrying about money doesn’t have to be an overwhelming part of the journey. The USPTO offers these cost-saving options and resources to help when filing a patent application:
Provisional patent application. A PPA is a legal document filed with the USPTO that establishes an early filing date, at a lower cost than a regular patent filing. It is not an actual patent. It does not mature into an issued patent unless the applicant files a regular non-provisional patent application within one year.
The PPA also provides the stakeholder’s legal ability to use the term “patent pending,” which may have significant marketing advantages.
Reduced filing fees. The USPTO’s fee schedule includes a reduced fee for filing certain re-examination or “streamlined” requests. The option was created to make it financially less burdensome for requesters with limited resources.
The fee for filing an ex parte re-examination request will be reduced if the request has 40 or fewer pages and meets other format requirements. For compliant requests, the filing fees are $6,000 for a large entity, $3,000 for a small entity and $1,500 for a micro entity. Micro entity status is only available to the owner of the patent for which re-examination is being requested, not a third-party requester.
Patent pro bono & Law School Clinic Certification Program. The USPTO’s Patent Pro Bono Program is a nationwide network of independently operated, regional programs that match volunteer patent professionals with financially under-resourced inventors and small businesses to provide patent filing and prosecution legal services.
Another USPTO service for lower-income individuals and small businesses is the Law School Clinic Certification Program (LSCCP), which includes 60 participating law school clinics that provide legal services pro bono to inventors, entrepreneurs, and small businesses.
Both the Patent Pro Bono Program and LSCCP have mandatory income thresholds and other requirements for accepting new clients. To determine whether you may qualify and for other information, go to uspto.gov/PatentProBono and uspto.gov/LawSchoolClinic.