National stage flat fee cost estimates
A PCT application allows you to file your patent application in multiple countries. To do so, an applicant enters the national stage, or national phase, of each desired country by filing a copy of the PCT application. Filing these national stage applications can require a significant outlay of cash, depending upon the countries desired. My firm, Innovation Capital Law Group, offers flat fee cost estimates for initial filings of PCT national stage entry. The list is not exhaustive, but representative of the most common PCT member countries.
Factors affecting national phase flat fee costs
PCT national phase filing costs vary widely. Cost factors such as translation and excess claim fees can add thousands to the initial filing cost. The European Patent Office (EPO) is a regional patent office that accepts a single application to cover multiple European Union countries. The EPO charges an excess claim fee of approximately US$300 for each claim above 15. A PCT application with 25 claims, for example, would incur roughly $2,500 to $3,000 in excess claim fees when entering the EPO national stage. Yet a patent application with 25 claims would not be unusually high for a U.S. utility patent application.
How to save money when filing national stage applications
PCT applicants approaching the national stage deadline can save a great deal of money by planning ahead with their patent attorneys. It helps to understand the particular costs associated with each desired foreign patent office. Sending early instructions to foreign associates can also save money by avoiding rush charges. You would also avoid late charges for the late filing of any required documents such as translations and signed forms.
PCT applicants should also explore ways to save vendor fees. The two biggest cost variables in foreign filing include foreign associate fees and translation fees. PCT applicants are not limited to using the translation services of any desired foreign patent firms. Instead, applicants should explore the possibility of using a translation company especially if discounts for repetitive text are offered.
Does your US patent attorney charge flat rates or hourly rates?
Cost-sensitive IP owners may want to seek out US patent attorneys that charge flat rates for patent prosecution. Flat fee national phase filings facilitate more precise budgets as clients plan for forthcoming national stage entries.