How Long Is A Patent Good For Once It’s Awarded?

how long is a patent good for?

If you have an idea for a product, or invention, you may be wondering if you should patent your idea, how much it will cost and how long is the patent good for.

If your idea is patentable, then go for it…

Just be aware that the patent protection you receive is limited to a specific period of time and is territorial.

Once you receive your patent award, the patent is good for 20 years from the date of first filing.

The cost of a patent will vary depending on they type of patent you file and whether you are willing to defend it.

How Much Does It Cost To Patent Something?

On the low end, patenting an idea can cost a few thousand dollars, on the high end it can be tens of thousands of dollars.

The cost of a patent includes:

  1. The fees to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).
  2. The cost of designing schematics of your patent for the application.
  3. The fees to pay a lawyer to draft the patent language for the patent examiner.

The fees to file a patent will depend on the type of patent you apply for. The following are types of patents you can apply for:

  • Provisional Patent Application
  • Non-Provisional Patents
  • Design Patents
  • Utility Patents
  • Foreign Patents

Filing a “provisional patent application” will establish an early filing date for your patent, but will not mature into a full patent unless you file a non-provisional, follow on patent after filing your provisional patent application.

A provisional patent application can “start the clock” on protecting your idea on an earlier date than a full non-provisional patent.

Because a provisional application does not include an examination of prior art and an evaluation of your patent’s claims against existing patents, it is less expensive to file than a full non-provisional patent.

Examples of Provisional Patent Fees

Patent fees vary based on the type of patent you choose above. Some examples of the governmental and attorney’s fees that can be expected for a “Provisional Patent” are listed below:

  • Patentability Search 
    • Attorney Fees: $2,000-$2,500
    • Govt. Fees: $1,000
  • Validity Search/Opinion
    • Attorney Fees: $3,000-$5,000
    • Govt. Fees: $3,000-$6,000
  • Infringement Search/Opinion:
    • Attorney Fees: $3,000-$5,000
    • Govt. Fees: $3,000-$6,000
  • Assignment/Inventor Search:
    • Attorney Fees: $200
    • Govt. Fees: Varies
  • Patent Application Preparation:
    • Attorney Fees: $2,000-$3,000
    • Govt. Fees: $130
  • Patent Assignment:
    • Attorney Fee: $250

The cost goes up from there and ultimately a lot of the overall cost of getting a patent will depend on whether you want to have a patent as an intellectual accomplishment or as a legitimate business tool.

Patent as Intellectual Accomplishment

The former is not necessarily motivated by a business need, but rather an emotional desire to own a patent on something.

Being awarded a patent on something could be an important part of who you want to become as a person… A creative, technical or inventor type person.

This path to owning a patent can be had for less money than using a patent as a legitimate business strategy because you are probably not planning on defending it if someone infringes.

Patent as Business Strategy

If you are patenting your idea because you want to build a business off of the idea, it is going to be more expensive because of the following reasons:

  • You must be ready to defend your patent when/if a competitor infringes on your patent.
  • You should consider patenting your idea internationally.
  • You may want multiple versions of your patent that cover additional claims.

Patent protection is granted for a limited period, generally 20 years from the filing date of the application.