« Reply #10 on: Dec 31st, 2003, 1:46am »
Dear Perfer toremain Anonymous,
Before you consider the costs of filing an application, do a little research on your own to see if you should bother filing an application for patent at all.
The USPTO's website provides a reasonably good search engine of published U.S. patents. Start there to see if anyone else beat you to the punch, or if the field of technology is particularly crowded.
If you find that someone has already patented or described your idea in a patent (which happens more often than you might imagine) you can stop right there.
If your search turns up nothing which is spot on and you think there is a niche for your invention, then consult a patent attorney. Hourly rates vary widely depending on where you live and who you use.
$200/hr is the low end, $375/hr is what you might expect to pay at one of the larger firms. Caution is advised. Attorneys often charge in 6 minute increments and everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, you ask them to do will be billed. Faxes, computer searches, copying, etc. will all be billed to you at inflated rates. When you call, don't chit-chat, but get right down to business.
Ask for detailed information regarding billing before you do anything. Some law firms will require a retainer paid in advance. This shouldn't scare you away, but it's something to consider if you're short on cash.
There is one contributor to this board, Mr. Auslander, who advertises something he calls Reality Check. I have no idea what this is (and he is rather vague on the details), but I assume it is a low cost, or fixed price invention evaluation process. Perhaps he will answer with greater specificity.
The thing is this. If you have a valuable invention, the cost of obtaining a patent is essentially meaningless. A few tens of thousands of dollars compared to a few million is noting to worry about. But such patents are EXTREMELY rare.
Most, like 90+%, never provide any return at all. The trick is to not waste money on something which will never be of value.
Hope this helps.