A patent application is subject to the payment of a basic fee and additional fees that include a search fee, an examination fee, and issue fee. Consult the USPTO website at www.uspto.gov for the current fees. Total claims that exceed 20, and independent claims that exceed three are considered “excess claims” for which additional fees are due. For example, if applicant filed a total of 25 claims, including four independent claims, applicant would be required to pay excess claims fees for five total claims exceeding 20, and one independent claim exceeding three. If the same applicant later filed an amendment increasing the total number of claims to 29, and the number of independent claims to six, applicant would be required to pay more excess claims fees for the four additional total claims and the two additional independent claims.
In calculating fees, a claim is singularly dependent if it incorporates by reference a single preceding claim that may be an independent or dependent claim. A multiple dependent claim or any claim depending therefrom shall be considered as separate dependent claims in accordance with the number of claims to which reference is made. In addition, if the application contains multiple dependent claims, an additional fee is required for each multiple dependent claim.
If the owner of the invention is a small entity, (an independent inventor, a small business concern or a nonprofit organization), most fees are reduced by half if small entity status is claimed. If small entity status is desired and appropriate, applicants should pay the small entity filing fee. Applicants claiming small entity status should make an investigation as to whether small entity status is appropriate before claiming such status.
Most of the fees are subject to change in October of each year.