Effective January 16, 2018, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) will increase certain patent fees. According to the USPTO, the fee increases are designed to recover estimated costs of USPTO operations for patent prosecution and the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), while also supporting the USPTO’s strategic goals “like pendency and backlog reduction, patent quality enhancements, technology modernization, staffing optimization, and financial sustainability.”
Below is a link to a table published by the USPTO showing the current and new, increased fees. Filing, search, examination, and issue fees will increase by about 10% for utility patent applications. For example, the basic filing, search, and examination fees for a large entity will increase a total of $120 (from $1,600 to $1,720), and the issue fee will increase $40 (from $960 to $1,000). Design patent application fees will see a significantly larger increase. The basic design patent filing, search, and examination fees for a large entity will increase a total of $200 (about a 26% increase from $760 to $960), and the design patent issue fee will increase $140 (from $560 to $700). RCE fees will also increase from $1,200 to $1,300 for the first request, and $1,700 to $1,900 for the second and subsequent requests.
As expected, the most significant increases are found in the “Patent Trial and Appeal Fees.” Notably, the base Inter Partes Review (IPR) Request Fee (for up to 20 claims) will increase by 72% from $9,000 to $15,500, and the IPR Post-Institution Fee (for up to 15 claims) will increase from $14,000 to $15,000. Thus, the total base filing fees for an IPR will increase from $23,000 to $30,500. Similarly, the base Post-Grant or Covered Business Method Review Request Fee will increase by 33% from $12,000 to $16,000, and the Post-Grant or Covered Business Method Review Post-Institution Fee will increase from $18,000 to $22,000. In its press release, the USPTO explains that its actual costs for processing IPR requests “are consistently outpacing the fees collected for this service.” Thus, these increases “are aimed at better aligning these fees with the USPTO’s costs and aiding the PTAB to continue to meet required AIA deadlines.”
Of course, any filings that can be completed in advance of January 16, 2018, will avoid these increases. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.