Chapter 8

Controlling the Costs of Generating and Maintaining a Patent Portfolio through Patent Engineering

Nothing worthwhile is free, an idea that certainly holds true for generating and maintaining patent portfolios. Cultivating a good patent portfolio can be expensive; however, the cost of not having a solid patent portfolio can far exceed the costs of having one. Moreover, by properly designing a patent strategy that focuses on owning the problem, rather than simply generating a random collection of unrelated patents, the total costs of producing a patent portfolio can be substantially reduced. In this chapter we discuss what having a solid patent portfolio actually costs in the United States. Foreign filings, as well as their related costs, will be discussed in the next chapter, as well as the many ways that significant savings can be achieved while generating a strong, international patent portfolio for your company.

Costs can be divided into three broad categories. The first consists of the legal costs incurred by engaging a patent practitioner. The second category comprises the time that your technical staff spends on generating and prosecuting patent applications. The third relates to the fees that are charged by the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

Legal Costs

Let us begin by first discussing legal costs. Typical attorney fees vary widely, but as of this writing $350–$450 per hour is not uncommon. Patent agents charge less—around $250–$350 per hour. Some law ...

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