The Costs of Patenting

Obtaining and maintaining patents involves costs throughout the lifetime of the patent applications and the granted patents.  These costs vary widely according to the complexity of the invention and the difficulties incurred during the process of obtaining the patents.  To give some idea of possible costs which may be incurred, the table below gives actual costs for the first seven years (with the costs of the 6th and 7th years not necessarily complete) for a patenting programme for an average complexity invention covering 13 countries.  The route to patents is the usual one where several countries are involved.  An initial UK patent application was followed a year later by a PCT (International) Patent Application which, beyond its International Phase (years 2 and 3), was extended into Europe and eight individual countries.  Once granted, the European patent will be validated in five European countries.

Patent costs.

Costs in bold and italics indicate that a patent has been granted.

Accordingly, the first year, and arguably the first two and a half years, are not too expensive but patenting becomes very costly beyond the PCT International Phase and is perhaps only justified if the commercial position has become sufficiently promising.

All costs are in Pounds Sterling. © Michael Harrison 2018