Earlier this year, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) announced changes to most fees to reflect the actual cost of performing the associated tasks. While the PTO raised many fees related to filing and prosecuting a patent application, it also announced that it would reduce patent issue fees and the fee for recording an assignment. Most of the fee reductions were delayed until January 2014. Therefore, effective January 1, 2014, the following fees will be reduced:
- Utility patent and reissue patent issue fees will decrease from $1,780 to $960;
- Design patent issue fee will decrease from $1,020 to $560;
- Plant patent issue fee will decrease from $1,400 to $760;
- Utility publication fee for early, voluntary, or normal publication will be eliminated (reduced from $300); and
- Recording an assignment electronically will be free (reduced from $40).
Also, while fees for filing a PCT application will remain unchanged for large entities, most PCT filing fees will now be discounted by 50 percent for small entities and by 75 percent for micro-entities.
Whether a fee is impacted by the new schedule is determined by the date the fee is paid. That is, any issue fees or fees for recording an assignment will be reduced if the fees are paid after January 1, 2014. For example, if an issue fee is due after January 1, 2014, it may be beneficial to wait until after this date to submit the payment.
However, it may not be possible or desirable to wait until after January 1, 2014 to pay these fees, and the fees described above may not be the only driving factor. Please consult with your Michael Best attorney to make the right decision for your case.