Earlier this month, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office proposed to increase its patent fees for fiscal year 2013. Although these fee increases generally take place every year, they may particularly harder to swallow given that the current fees reflect a 15% increase that occurred in September 2011, as required by the America Invents Act.
Section 41(f) of Title 35 of the United States Code authorizes the USPTO to adjust certain statutory patent fees to reflect fluctuations during the preceding twelve months in the Consumer Price Index (CPI). The purpose of this provision is to allow the USPTO to recover higher costs of providing services as reflected by the CPI.
Since the USPTO has not yet exercised its new fee-setting authority under the AIA, the USPTO proposes that this CPI increase be implemented on October 1, 2012. According to the USPTO, “The interim increase in fees is necessary to allow the USPTO to meet its strategic goals within the time frame outlined in the FY 2013 President’s Budget. The interim fee increase is a bridge to provide resources until the USPTO exercises its fee-setting authority and develops a new fee structure that will provide sufficient financial resources in the long term.”
Assuming an increase of 2.9%, below are several examples of possible fee adjustments:
- Utility patent application basic filing fee: $390 (increase of $10)
- Utility patent examination fee: $260 (increase of $10)
- Provisional application filing fee: $260 (increase of $10)
- Maintenance fees: increased $30 at the first stage, $80 at the second stage, and $140 at the third stage.
Of course, these are not the last of the fee changes. As the USPTO notes, “[AIA] Section 10 fee-setting will be addressed in a future proposal.”