For fees, the first thing you probably want to know is the USPTO filing and processing fees. These are detailed here, and are on top of my fees. Note that if you are a “small entity” – generally defined as small enough to be defined as such by the Small Business Administration – then your fees at the USPTO for many activities will be half of what a larger company would pay. My fees will be the same whatever size you are.
I charge basically $200 per hour on top of the USPTO fees. Typical fees for the activities mentioned at the head of this page would be (with payment terms):
Prior Art Search-
$500 - $1,000. Includes search report and placement of your invention within the overall intellectual property
field. You can put a stop on the order so that I will not go over a certain
amount without giving you an estimate for completion. For this phase of the process, the more work that you
have done in establishing the prior art before either making the invention or preparing the application, the
less expensive it will be for you. If it looks as if your invention has a problem with prior art then I will
contact you to discuss that fact before spending your money unnecessarily.
Provisional Filing – Generally around $1,500. Presupposes that I did the search for you, or that you do not require me to carry out any further searching (you may have employed an independent search service, for example). Note that a provisional filing is just that. There can be good reasons for doing it, but once it is filed, we need to file a so-called non-provisional (or regular utility) application within a year if you want the priority date of the provisional application. The USPTO will not actually do anything with your “provisional” except file it somewhere, then if you need to use what it discloses in a subsequent regular (non provisional) filing, then we can use it. I would need half of the estimate (i.e. around $750) up front and the balance on completion of the preparation. Alternatively I can accept a purchase order or contractor services agreement from your organization.
Non Provisional (utility) filing – Generally around $3,000 - $8,000, depending on the complexity and magnitude of the invention. Also presupposes that I did the search for you, but not that I did a provisional filing. If we filed a provisional application together, then the fee may be significantly less it would be otherwise as I would be able to use much of the disclosure from the provisional. My terms are the same as for the provisional application.
Subsequent Activity – After the examiner gets around to examining your application, he or she will send me what are called “office actions”. These will probably require a response of some kind that I will charge by the hour to prepare. The most likely responses required from us will be amendments or responses to his or her questions about prior art. As I mentioned above, we will discuss what needs to be done to get the patent allowed so that you understand what you will be receiving upon final allowance.