New Patent Fees are scheduled to become effective on March 19, 2013

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (Office or USPTO) sets or adjusts patent fees in this rulemaking as authorized by Section 10 of the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (Act or AIA). Section 10 prescribes that fees may be set or adjusted only to recover the aggregate estimated costs to the Office for processing, activities, services, and materials relating to patents, including administrative costs to the Office with respect to such patent operations.  Section 10 authority includes flexibility to set individual fees in a way that furthers key policy considerations, while taking into account the cost of the respective services.  See Section 10 of the Act, Public Law 112-29, 125 Stat. at 316-17. Section 10 also establishes certain procedural requirements for setting or adjusting fee regulations, such as public hearings and input from the Patent Public Advisory Committee and oversight by Congress.

The fees will provide the Office with a sufficient amount of aggregate revenue to recover its aggregate cost of patent operations, while helping the Office implement a sustainable funding model, reduce the current patent application backlog, decrease patent application pendency, improve patent quality, and upgrade the Office's patent business information technology (IT) capability and infrastructure.

This final rule sets or adjusts 351 patent fee where 93 apply to large entities, 94 to small entities, 93 to micro entities, and 71 are not entity-specific.  Also, despite increases in some fees, applicants who meet the new micro entity definition will pay less than the amount paid for small entity fees under the current fee schedule for 87 percent of the fees eligible for a discount under section 10(b).

Another stated objective of the fee setting is to encourage innovators to take advantage of patent protection, the Office sets basic ‘‘front-end’’ fees (e.g., filing, search, and examination) below the actual cost of carrying out these activities. The Office provides fee reductions for small and micro entity innovators to facilitate access to the patent system. Setting front-end and small and micro entity fees below cost requires, however, that other fees be set above cost. To that end, the Office sets basic ‘‘back-end’’ fees (e.g., issue and maintenance) in excess of costs to recoup revenue not collected by front-end and small and micro entity fees. Charging higher back-end fees also fosters innovation and benefits the overall patent system. After a patent is granted, a patent owner is better positioned, as opposed to at the time of filing a patent application, to more closely assess the expected value of an invention, which is a consideration in determining whether to pay maintenance fees to keep the patent protecting the invention in force. Expiration of a patent makes the subject matter of the patent available in the public domain for subsequent commercialization. Determining the appropriate balance between front-end and back-end fees is a critical component of aligning the Office’s costs and revenues.

Summary of New Fee Structure Includes:

See full comparison of Fee Changes Here:  USPTO-Fees

  • Micro Entity Fee: 75% reduction of fees set under Section 10(a) including filing, searching, examining, issuing, appealing, and maintaining patent applications and patents. (universities qualify as Micro Entity)
  • Small Entity Fee: 50% reduction of fees set under Section 10(a) including filing, searching, examining, issuing, appealing, and maintaining patent applications and patents.
  • Issue Fees: $960 (Note: $300 publication fee eliminated)  However, these fee changes will not be implemented until January 2014
  • Maintenance Fees:
    • First Fee at 3 ½ years: $1,150 to $1,600.
    • Second Fee at 7 ½ years: $2,900 to $3,600.
    • Third Fee at 11 ½ years: $4,810 to $7,400.
  • Claim Fees:
    • Greater than 3 Independent Claims:  $420 per claim
    • Greater than 20 Total Claims:  $80 per claim
  • RCE Fees: $1,200 along with a surcharge of $500 for as second RCE filing
  • Appeals: New surcharge of $2,000 for forwarding the brief to the PTAB rather than settling with the examiner.
  • Ex Parte Reexamination: $12,000, small and micro entity privileges apply
  • Inter Partes Reviews: $23,000 with a $14,000 refund if IPR petition is rejected
  • Post Grant Reviews: $30,000 with a $18,000 refund if IPR petition is rejected
  • Derivation Petition: $400
  • Assignments: Free if submitted electronically

Design patent fees are also changing:

  • Total Filing Fees: $760
  • Issue Fee: $560

Details from the Federal Register:  Link


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