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Streamlined Processes: Exploring the Perks of Flat Rate Patent Applications
Securing a patent grant involves considerable expense on the inventor’s part. The average cost of drafting an application, registration, and prosecution ranges between a few hundred to thousands of dollars. While the fee charged by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is fixed, the attorney and other miscellaneous fees are a variable factor.
The traditional arrangement between the attorney and inventor thus far has been an hourly billing model. This prevents the applicant from budgeting the costs in advance, especially in the case of utility applications that may receive multiple Office Actions. Small and medium businesses in particular do not want to undertake the risk of unpredictable and exorbitant costs. For this reason, flat rate patent applications are preferred by businesses seeking to build their IP portfolio.
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What Are Flat Rate Patent Applications?
Flat-rate patent applications are those that are drafted and filed for a fixed fee. It is easier to apply flat rates to less complicated patents such as design patents, rather than intricate utility patents which have a much lesser allowance rate and require more effort.
How Are Flat Rates Determined?
Patent applications may range across a variety of topics with varying levels of complexity. Most firms use this as a criterion for determining the flat rates for patent applications. Generally, you will find three tiers of pricing as given below:
- Basic Patent Applications: Patents that are very basic in nature and do not involve any intricate drawings fall in this category. The fee may vary from $5000 to $9000.
- Moderately Advanced Applications: This refers to applications that require more work in the drafting stage, as well as more drawings. $7000-$12000 could be the fee range for such applications.
- Advanced Applications: Such inventions are of high complexity and need concentrated drafting. The number of drawings required to identify the application also increases. Expect to pay upwards of $16000 for such applications.
It is advisable to carefully read and clarify the caveats before going ahead with a flat fee patent application. Since the payment is usually made in advance, one must be aware beforehand of what is and what is not covered in the arrangement.
Advantages of Flat Fee Application Arrangement
There are several benefits to the applicant in a flat fee arrangement, like:
- Removing the incentive of hourly rates ensures that the work is completed with speed and efficiency. Attorneys would not want to spend unnecessary time on flat rate applications, but instead, develop effective strategies that aid in expediting the application process. The sooner a patent is received, the more coverage it offers to the IP holder.
- More savings and predictability since the rates are previously known. This allows businesses to organize and plan their finances in a better manner.
- No needless fee disputes during or after the completion of the process.
What Is Covered In The Flat Fee Application?
The flat fee application rate usually covers the following:
- Preparation of the utility patent application draft, inclusive of drawings and all other requirements of eligibility required by the USPTO.
- Any adjustments or minor changes are required to the draft before submission.
- Filing of the patent application with the USPTO.
You can also avail of a flat fee arrangement for replies to Office Actions. Here again, the cost will depend upon the type of rejection, number of prior art references mentioned in claim rejections, and identification of allowable subject matter in claims. If the rejection pertains to a simple cleanup under Section 112, the flat fee would be minimal (up to $1000). But for other issues that involve claim amendments and need extensive arguments to support the application, the fees could be anywhere between $1400 to $3000.
The transparency offered by flat fee applications makes it the preferred payment method for inventors. Attorneys to get to benefit from the arrangement as it frees them from the tedious task of logging the specific times spent on transactions. Instead, they are able to focus on offering superior services that help in building a steady client base.
As we can see, this system offers a win-win for both the inventor and the attorney. The option of flat rate fees is also available for other patent-related procedures such as Freedom-to-Operate Search, Patentability Searches, etc. Aside from the cost predictability, availing of these services allows businesses the benefit of professional advice and assistance in dealing with the patenting process.
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