Protecting Your Idea With A Patent Isn't Cheap, Part 2

Should you do it yourself or get a professional to file your patent?
2 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

After choosing the type of patent you want to apply for, you next need to decide whether to file the patent yourself or hire a patent attorney or agent to do it for you. You may want to consider getting help from a professional; there have been several cases in which an inventor filed his own patent only to see it get struck down in court. When it comes to patents, don't be penny-wise and pound-foolish.

If you choose to file your own patent application, your minimum expenditures will be the filing fees and costs associated with drawings and document preparation. Assuming you are filing as an individual or a small entity (as opposed to filing as a corporation), the filing fees are as follows:

  • Design patent: $165
  • Utility patent: $395

If you're filing a utility patent, the PTO requires you to pay maintenance fees throughout the life of your patent to keep it active. Those fees are:

  • Due at 3 1/2 years: $525
  • Due at 7 1/2 years: $1,050
  • Due at 11 1/2 years: $1,580

Hiring a patent attorney or agent to file your patent for you will increase these costs. And since their fees vary widely, it is recommended you interview several attorneys or agents and get an estimate of the total costs from each. Patent filing is fairly straightforward, so each attorney you contact should be able to give you an estimate. If he or she can't, think twice about using that attorney.

See our tip on Wednesday, December 20 for part 1 of this article.

More from Entrepreneur
Our Franchise Advisors are here to help you throughout the entire process of building your franchise organization!
  1. Schedule a FREE one-on-one session with a Franchise Advisor
  2. Choose one of our programs that matches your needs, budget, and timeline
  3. Launch your new franchise organization
Entrepreneur Insider members enjoy exclusive access to business resources for just $5/mo:
  • Premium articles, videos, and webinars
  • An ad-free experience
  • A weekly newsletter
  • Bonus: A FREE 1-year Entrepreneur magazine subscription delivered directly to you
Try a risk-free trial of Entrepreneur’s BIZ PLANNING PLUS powered by LivePlan for 60 days:
  • Get step-by-step guidance for writing your plan
  • Gain inspiration from 500+ sample plans
  • Utilize business and legal templates
  • And much more

Latest on Entrepreneur