The cost of patent depends on the complexity of the invention and the attorneys filing the patent.
Attorneys make their money from billing the number of hours they spend working on a patent, plus disbursements.
Most attorneys will also require a retainer, which is a prepayment for services.
You will want a detailed written estimate and breakdown of the cost of a patent and disbursements if you hire them.
Some lawyers may work on a "block rate", which is a set fee for a particular service such as drawings.
Many lawyers also outsource their work and charge a fee on top of that cost. For example, the cost of patent searches and drawings are often outsourced. In some cases the initial draft of your application may be outsourced.
More recently, initial drafts of patent applications are prepared in other countries such as India, where the cost of patent fees are inexpensive but the quality of work is professional. This can significantly reduce the costs of patenting.
A patent lawyer or a patent agent can be hired to patent your invention.
A patent lawyer specializes in the laws governing patents for a particular country. These laws and the cost of patent services are not the same in every country.
A patent agent is not a lawyer and therefore cannot practice law. A patent agent is certified by a government to provide patent services.
They can prepare and process a patent application and are usually less expensive than a lawyer.
A competent patent lawyer specializes in determining and describing the uniqueness of your invention compared to other patented inventions.
A patent that has an abundance of new, unique and useful aspects is usually stronger (for example Velcro® is quite unique compared to other types of patented fasteners - like snap-on buttons or zippers).
A Patent Is A Tool
Like any tool you have to understand the purpose of a patent and how it is used in order to determine your patent costs.
A patent is primarily a litigation document.
So who prepared your patent application may be considered important when licensing your invention. If you're trying to license your invention to a company, then the person who protected your invention can be an important factor in inspiring confidence.
This is because they will want to know if they can successfully deter competitors with litigation or the threat of litigation.
The Right Lawyer
This doesn't mean you run out and get the most expensive attorney you can find.
What it means is that you need to find the right lawyer for your invention and budget your cost of patent fees accordingly.
Telling someone about your lawyer can be an advantage and this has to be considered when evaluating your costs to patent your invention.
The only reason for getting a patent is that you have done your homework and can convince others that your invention is new and profitable.
If this isn't true, then you don't need a patent.
A good patent tells an investor, licensee, distributor or agent that it will be difficult for your invention to have competition in a specific country.
That's all it means.
If you have convinced others that your invention is going to make money, they will want to know how difficult it will be for competitors to infringe on your profits.
The degree of difficulty you create for any competitor depends on your patent attorney and the financial ability to enforce your rights. If you license your invention, your lawyer will also be involved in preparing your licensing agreement.
Patent attorneys use numerous strategies to make it difficult for competitors to infringe on your invention.
The right lawyer should have knowledge in the field of your invention. Preferably, they should have experience filing patents in that field.
They should understand the jargon used in your field of invention. If you file a patent application and an examiner at the patent office has issues with it, you can incur additional patent costs.
Patent lawyers tend to specialize in different fields of practice, just like physicians. Patent lawyers will have degrees in various disciplines - electrical, chemical or mechanical engineering, computer sciences, aerodynamics etc.
Some will specialize in certain types of patent applications and others will only practice litigation.
Preparing a patent requires writing skills that describe the uniqueness of your invention compared to other patents. The description cannot be too general or too narrow.
It cannot be open to interpretation and should be written to give you the best protection.
Your patent cannot have "holes" that another inventor, or patent attorney, can easily re-design or litigate around.