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How Much Does a Patent Lawyer Cost?

Last Updated: February 01, 2022

While you might have a great idea for a new invention, unless a patent is obtained for it, you won't have exclusive rights to make, use, and sell the invention. The patent process, however, is a complex one, involving extensive research and paperwork as well as an understanding of patent law, Patent and Trademark Office protocol, and scientific knowledge. As a result, most people hire a patent lawyer to help them obtain legal protection for an idea. Below you'll find information about what patent lawyers do and an explanation of how much it costs to hire a lawyer.

What Do Patent Lawyers Do? #

Generally speaking, patent attorneys help clients file a patent application and get a patent. In practice, that means providing assistance in the following areas:

  • Patent search: Once you have an idea for an invention, the next step is performing a patent search to determine whether similar inventions have already been patented. It's common for inventors to do a preliminary search on their own, although at some point, you should have a professional search performed by a patent attorney.
  • Narrow the patent scope: If an existing, patented invention similar to yours already exists, a patent law attorney can help to narrow the scope of your patent to define what is unique about it. In the meantime, a lawyer can file a provisional patent application (“patent pending”) on your behalf, which is a useful, inexpensive tool.
  • Prepare and file the patent application: A patent application contains many parts, including a description of earlier inventions similar to yours (“prior art”), an outline of your new invention, a description of your invention's practical applications (“preferred embodiment”), and legal descriptions of your invention (“claims”). Preparing the patent application is where the expertise of a patent lawyer really comes into play.
  • Refining and resubmitting the application: It's not uncommon for initial patent applications to be rejected by the Patent Office. When this occurs, it's by no means the end of the road. Instead, you'll work with a patent attorney to amend the patent application and resubmit it until it is, hopefully, accepted.

Patent Lawyer Average Costs #

Patent lawyer cost varies based on your geographical location and the attorney's credentials. With that in mind, you can expect to pay somewhere around $100 to $500 or more per hour, with mean hourly costs being closer to $250 to $450. In major metropolitan hours, however, patent lawyer fees could be double this amount.

In terms of total patent attorney fees, you might pay approximately $5,000 to $10,000 for a simple invention, $10,000 to $15,000 for a moderately complex invention, and $15,000+ for a complex invention.

It's possible to handle the bulk of the patent application yourself and only consult an attorney on specific matters. For example, a professional patent search might run you around $500 to $1,500, while getting a patentability opinion from a lawyer would cost approximately $1,000 to $2,000.

In addition to the actual patent attorney cost, you'll also need to pay patent filing fees (individually ranging from hundreds to thousands of dollars) and drawing fees (around $75 to $150 per patent drawing). For more information on patent filing fees, visit the official website of the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

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