Are Fee Hikes on the Horizon? USPTO Releases Patent Fee Proposal

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) recently published new proposed fees for all of its patent services. In doing so, USPTO is exercising its fee setting authority established under the America Invents Act to set and adjust patent fees to recover the aggregate estimated cost of the patent operation.

Overall, the USPTO is proposing to adjust the following fee categories:

  • Basic filing, search, and examination
  • Excess claims, application size, and extensions of time
  • Request for continued examination (RCE)
  • Prioritized examination (Track 1)
  • Supplemental examination
  • Pre‐grant publication and issue
  • Appeal, maintenance, and micro entity
  • Oath and declaration

While the fee for prioritized examination would be lowered by about $800, most other categories would see a fee hike of anywhere between 7% and 142%. A list of the proposed fees can be found here.

What’s Next?

According to the USPTO, the proposal represents the first step in establishing new fees. “The fee schedule published this week represents only an initial proposal and is far from final. We invite feedback and recommendations from the public and look forward to a meaningful dialogue over the coming months as we work to set these fees at the optimal levels,” said Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and USPTO Director David Kappos.

On the basis of the initial proposal, the Patent Public Advisory Committee will hold public hearings, gather feedback from the public, and prepare a report for the USPTO about the proposed fee schedule. After that, the USPTO will publish its final proposed fee schedule in a Federal Register Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, anticipated in June 2012, which will open a 60‐day comment period for the public to submit written feedback directly to the USPTO.

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