Can I afford to apply for a patent?
Applying for a patent and then maintaining it costs money. In addition to the fixed costs linked to a patent such as application fees and annual fees, the scope and complexity of your application, any assistance from an attorney and any translations affect the total cost of a patent. The number of countries in which you apply is also of great significance.
Cost of a Swedish patent
The fees for a Swedish patent application are relatively low. You pay a filing fee that consists of a registration fee and a search fee.
As of year three, there are additional annual fees that have to be paid before and after the patent has been granted. If you are subsequently granted a patent, you also pay a granting fee.
You then pay annual fees in order to maintain your granted patent. The longer you maintain the patent, the higher the cost becomes.
On top of this are the costs of an attorney, if you choose to use one.
Cost of a European patent (EP)
When you file a European patent application, you pay a filing fee to the European Patent Office (EPO). If your application is granted, you can opt to validate the patent in individual countries or to request unitary effect. If you choose validation, the total costs will vary depending on how many countries your select. With a unitary patent, you will pay a common renewal fee for all countries included in the unitary patent system.
In any case, regardless of whether you choose unitary effect or how many countries you choose to validate in, the cost of a European patent will be higher than that of a Swedish patent. In return, you are given the opportunity to gain more extensive protection in purely geographical terms.
Cost of an international patent (PCT)
The Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) is an international agreement that allows you, through one single application in one language, to obtain a novelty search and preliminary patentability assessment performed by the same patent office for around 150 countries.
The cost of this application (PCT application) is an average of eight to ten times higher than that of a Swedish application.
In order for the patent to apply in the countries you want, you must then apply for and pay fees for patent protection in each country in which you would like to have protection. In other words, there are additional costs in this respect.
Cost of foreign national patent
The cost of a foreign national patent application varies from country to country. PRV recommends that you contact the patent office in each country to obtain more detailed information about pricing. Bear in mind that there may be additional costs for translating documents and it is also not uncommon in other countries to be compelled to be represented by an attorney who is registered in that specific country.
Cost of a patent attorney
In addition to the cost of an application and subsequent annual fees, PRV also recommends that, when calculating your budget, you include the cost of engaging a patent attorney to help you write a professional application.
Engaging a professional patent attorney is usually money well spent. Looking at the statistics, far more applications where an attorney has been used are granted than applications where an attorney has not been used.
PRV receives several thousand applications each year. 40% are granted and close to 90% of these use patent attorneys during the application process.
The protection afforded by the patent is also more effective when an attorney worded the patent claim than when an attorney was not involved. Furthermore, when you apply for a patent abroad, you may be compelled to have an attorney who resides in the country in question. A patent attorney normally charges for their work by the hour. The cost of a patent attorney varies and you have to contact various patent attorneys yourself in order to compare prices.
In addition to the costs that have already been mentioned, there may be additional costs for such things as translations of documents and late fees.
Help with financing
Are you surprised by the costs? There are enterprise support organisations and other organisations that provide support and assistance with financing patent applications.