The USPTO has published a Notice in the Federal Register of proposed patent fee changes for public comments.
The fee adjustments resulting from this effort will not be implemented until the January 2021 timeframe. The proposed average five percent increase to fees is similar to fees rising by 1.6 percent annually over a three year period.
This proposal includes introduction of new fees, targeted adjustments to existing fees, and discontinuation of some fees.
- One proposed new fee is a surcharge for filing in a non-DOCX format. This will be a $400 fee, and will encourage applicants to use the DOCX format, and is intended to improve Office efficiency and future search capabilities.
- Another proposed new fee is an annual active patent practitioner fee of $340 (if filed electronically). Further, a discount will be offered to those who certify completion of continued legal education (CLE), reducing the fee to $240.
- A fee for non-registered practitioners to appear before the PTAB is proposed.
Adjustments to Existing Fees
- A significant increase (525%) to the surcharge for late payment of maintenance fees. The fee is currently $160, but will be increased to $1000 for large entities.
- An increase from $900 to $2000 the fee to request expedited examination of a design application, to help the Office manage staffing for these services.
- Issue and maintenance fees will be restructured. The current large entity maintenance fees are $1600 (3.5 years), $3600 (7.5 years), and $7400 (11.5 years), and the proposal increases them to $2000 (3.5 years), $3760 (7.5 years), and $7700 (11.5 years).
- Fees for America Invents Act (AIA) trials are proposed to increase by roughly 25% due to a variety of factors, including the Supreme Court decision in SAS Institute Inc. v. Iancu.
Discontinuation of Fees
Fees related to obtaining copies of Patent Grant and Patent Application Publication TIFF Images or Full-Text W/Embedded Images will be eliminated and the Office will instead provide these services, in a slightly modified form (i.e. electronic), for free.
Below is a summary table of the common fees for a large entity to illustrate some of the proposed changes.
As seen below, total filing costs for a patent application (large entity) will increase $1720 increase to $1820.