United States Patent and Trademark Office has published final rules increasing certain fees relating to patent examination and post grant proceedings (Please click here to see the USPTO's table showing the fee changes relative to the current fees). The new fees generally will be effective on January 16, 2018. The changes announced for the most common fees include:
Utility Patents: The USPTO announced small increases in fees for utility applications. The combined filing fee for a utility application for a large entity will increase $120 to $1,720. The combined filing fee for a small entity will increase to $860, and the microentity fee will increase to $430. The new large entity issue fee for a utility patent will increase $40 to $1,000.
National Stage Entry: The combined filing fee for national stage entry of an application (when the search report is prepared and provided to the USPTO) for a large entity will increase $100 to $1,580. The combined filing fee for a small entity will increase to $760, and the microentity fee will increase to $380.
Design Patents: The search fee for design applications will increase from $120 to $160 for large entities, and the examination fee for design applications will increase from $460 to $600 for large entities. As a result, the new combined filing fee for a design application will be $940. In addition, the issue fee for design patents will increase from $560 to $700. All of these fees will be subject to small and microentity discounts.
Requests for Continued Examination (RCE): The fee for filing a first RCE will increase from $1,200 to $1,300, and the fee for a second or subsequent RCE will increase from $1,700 to $1,900, both subject to small and microentity discounts.
Extra Claims Fees: The fee for each independent claim in excess of 3 will increase from $420 to $460 and each claim in excess of 20 will increase from $80 to $100, both subject to small and microentity discounts.
Ex Parte Reexamination: The rules create a new category of "streamlined" reexamination requests of 40 pages or less, with a large entity fee of $6,000, subject to small and microentity discounts. This fee for streamlined reexamination requests compares to the normal reexamination fee of $12,000, which will remain unchanged.
AIA Trial The new rules include significant increases in the fees associated with inter partes review, post grant review, and covered business method review proceedings:
The USPTO's periodic review of its fees is based on a framework established by the America Invents Act. Revised fees are set based on a number of considerations, including: (1) historical costs of patent operations and investments to date in meeting the USPTO's strategic goals; (2) projected costs to meet the USPTO's operational needs and strategic goals; and (3) sustainable funding. The USPTO also considered comments from the public and the Patent Public Advisory Committee.Significantly, the fee schedule for utility patent maintenance fees will not change. However, each patent issuing from a reissue application will be subject to maintenance fees. In the past, one maintenance fee covered for all patents resulting from reissue.
Clients should consider whether a new higher fee may be avoided by paying the fee prior to January 16, 2018, when possible.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.