5 Effective Tips To Reduce Your Patent Filing Expenditure

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Owning a robust patent portfolio strengthens a business by offering it considerable protection from competition as well as numerous sources of monetization. The exclusive rights granted by patents over a product/invention are great for building a strong and reputable brand in the market. But this value comes at a significant cost. Obtaining patents is a time-consuming as well as expensive procedure. The multiple stages involved in the patent acquisition process and associated costs can burn a hole in the business’s pocket.  

While the fixed costs like patent application fees, maintenance costs, etc., must be borne by the company, there are certain ways in which the other peripheral costs can be reduced. Read on for a brief overview of the expenses involved in the patent filing process along with 5 tips that can help you curb the costs and boost your patent prosecution strategy. 

Table of Contents

What Makes Patent Filing an Expensive Process? 

The patent prosecution strategy involves the following steps: 

  1. Patent Drafting 
  2. Patent Filing  
  3. Patent Grant 

The patent drafting process involves submitting a patent application along with the requisite fee to the USPTO. The patent application comprises claims, specifications, and drawings to explain the technology. Claims form the core of any patent application. They define the scope of the technology and protect against infringement. Therefore, drafting the claims accurately and in the manner prescribed by the USPTO is critical to the success of the application.  

Preceding the drafting of claims, a prior art search is conducted to determine if the invented technology is truly novel or if a reference to it already exists. Only when the prior art search is in the green can one go ahead with filing the application.  

After this comes the important task of drafting the claims. Since the USPTO mandates the claims to follow strict guidelines, it is critical that they be written by professionals in the field who are familiar with the claims drafting process. The best professionals obviously come at significant costs depending on the complexity of matters. In case your invention is to be accompanied by a drawing, you will also need the help of experienced illustrators who specialize in such drawings.  

The prior art search, application proceedings, as well as the USPTO fee, make the patent prosecution procedure an expensive one. But read on to find out how you can curb costs. 

5 Cost-Cutting Tips When Filing a Patent  

Ask yourself these 5 important questions to identify the areas where cost-cutting is feasible. 

  1. Do You Really Need A Patent? 

    Yes, a patent is a marvelous thing to own but do not get swayed by its power. Determine if your invention is worth the expenses a patent entails. Keep in mind that by the time you actually own the patent, at least 3-4 years would have passed. You can also find out if a trade secret would be equally effective in your case. They are much easier to secure and have minimal costs involved. 

  2. Which Countries Would You Be Operating In? 

    If you have the resources and plans to sell the product in different countries, then file your application accordingly. Budget in the costs involved in filing in different jurisdictions along with translation and maintenance/renewal costs. It is better to select key countries and keep a focused patent prosecution strategy to avoid unnecessary cost liabilities.  

  3. Is A DIY Prior-Art Search Possible? 

    Whether you can go ahead with filing for a patent is decided solely by the results of the prior art search. That is how central it is to your patent prosecution strategy. If any existing prior art is missed out in the search it can prove a costly mistake later. That’s the reason only experts with the resources to conduct this search must be trusted.  
    But if you are confident that you can conduct the search effectively on your own then it can save you some money. Plenty of free databases like Google Patents search, Espacenet, Patentscope, Lens, and USPTO are available to carry out the search. You can also opt for market surveys to supplement it. Conducting your own search also exposes you to new concepts and ideas that can be useful in enhancing the product. 

  4. Are You Capable Of Drafting A Patent Application? 

    As stressed earlier, the patent application drafting process is fairly complicated and technical. Not only does it require a thorough knowledge of the invention but also familiarity with the USPTO’s guidelines. Saving money here is definitely not a good idea as you may end up with a rejected application. However, to reduce the attorney fee, you can prepare a draft and seek their advice on its eligibility. Since the patent attorney does not have to begin from scratch, they are likely to charge a lesser fee. 

  5. Will You Be Able To File The Application? 

    Some jurisdictions require an attorney to file the application while others allow the inventor to do it. Filing the application yourself is usually not recommended due to the legalities involved in the procedure. But if you must do it on your own then it is recommended that you undertake a course to gather sufficient knowledge on the subject. 

Conclusion  

As discussed above, there are ways to reduce the costs entailed in the patent prosecution process. But each comes with its own set of pros and cons. Careful consideration must be given to each aspect before deciding the expenses that can be curtailed. Executing the patent prosecution on your own from start to finish is not a good idea due to the numerous complexities and legal facets involved. So, rationalize your patent expenditure and seek legal counsel to carve the right path for a sound patent prosecution strategy.  

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