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April 7, 2008

Figure of Speech

USPTO Director Jon Dudas pulled a number: $4200, as the cost of examining a patent, contrasting it to the "basic filing fees" of under $1,000. So how, with such a seemingly losing formula, does the PTO make over $2 billion a year? Issuance and maintenance fees. The issue fee for a granted patent is $1,440. Maintenance: every patent, at 3.5 years, chips in $930, $2,360 at 7.5 years, and $3,910 at 11.5 years. Not to mention fees for continued examination (RCE, $810) and appeal ($1,020). Citing just the basic filing fee disingenuously sets up a false comparison. Consider it a statement of character.

Dudas failed to cite his source for the $4,200 examination cost, or what it includes.

Posted by Patent Hawk at April 7, 2008 7:09 PM | The Patent Office


Not to mention fees for excess claims.

Posted by: cjack at April 7, 2008 6:29 PM

It's well known that 50+% of the fees the PTO collects are from issue and maintenance fees.

With the percentage of applications allowed now allegedly down to 44%, look for a budget crisis at the PTO soon.

RIF's anyone?

Posted by: JD at April 8, 2008 5:11 AM

So, patent examination is a loss-leader, like cheap milk advertised to get you into the grocery store.

Yeah, wait till the reduction in patents allowed hits the maintenance fees. That will wake them up. (BUT, IMO, that's exactly what Dudas is hoping for, RIFs to dovetail into the overall Republican plan to destroy government).

Posted by: bierbelly at April 8, 2008 11:51 AM

To Bierbelly:

We can only hope that the Republicans destroy the government. Unfortunately, they seem just as intent as Democrats on growing a bloated, inefficient bureaucracy on par with our public school system ($25,000 per year per kid in DC, and still can't teach them).

A conservative solution would be to have fees sufficient to pay for sufficient resources to conduct examination, and hire better management.

Posted by: James Ruland at April 9, 2008 9:14 AM

Since republicans seem to think the only appropriate government spending is on the military, why don't we have our fighting men and women return home and review patent applications?

All kidding aside, I think fees would be sufficient to provide "sufficient resources" (does that mean MORE examiners? If so, it's diametrically opposed to King Reagan's proclamations) for examination, if they'd stop pissing off money trying to reform the system and use it to examine applications.

Posted by: bierbelly at April 9, 2008 10:29 AM


I agree wholeheartly with your last comments. And yes, if they need more examiners, they should hire them instead of transferring the burden (and risks) to applicants. Wouldn't that be increasing good American jobs?

As an example, why can't the PTO train examiners to look for foreign search reports in corresponding non-US applications before issuing a first office action?

My small firm has a great deal less resources, but has the capability to do so.

Posted by: James Ruland at April 9, 2008 11:44 AM