Attorney Expenses

Costs associated with intellectual property services include professional fees and expenses.  Professional fees are fees that attorneys charge for services rendered.  Expenses are just that – expenses associated with providing services

The principal expenses associated with patent procurement services mainly include search fees, drawing fees, and filing fees.  Expenses associated with trademark registration procurement services mainly include search fees and filing fees

Expenses vary according to the complexities associated with the subject matter and/or the services provided.  For example, expenses related to a search vary according to the complexity of the subject matter of the search or the complexity of the search itself.  That is to say, a more complex subject matter may result in a more costly search.  In other words, expenses related to a search associated with a complex chemical invention are typically higher than those associated with a non-complex mechanical invention.  Similarly, a more complex search (e.g., looking for a needle in a haystack) may result in a more expensive search. 

Expenses for services may also vary according to the source of the service.  The old idiom that “you get what you pay for” is not always true.  Expenses generally vary regardless of the quality of service provided.  That is to say, the cost of a service is not always reflective of its quality.  In other words, a more expensive service could be of inferior quality to one that is more affordable.  

Expenses may be curtailed with a little planningShopping for services, interviewing service providers and comparing fees, can lead to a significant savings in expenses.  This should be done periodically, especially if intellectual property services are required on an ongoing basis, because fees increase and new service providers arise.

Consider public searchers or research firms that conduct patent research.  A searcher may conduct a quality novelty search for a non-complex mechanical invention for as little as $150 USD.  Another searcher may charge $750 USD for the same or an inferior quality search.  Shopping for search services, negotiating directly with service providers, comparing costs and quality, could lead to substantial savings. 

When considering expenses, the importance of the subject matter should also be taken into consideration.  For example, the importance of an invention typically has a great influence on the fee authorization for services related to the invention.  That is to say, an invention having a relatively low level of importance may be earmarked for a fairly low cost search, or may not warrant a search at all. 

Risk is also a factor when considering expenses.  For example, a clearance search in a highly litigious environment, where the risk of infringement may be high, may certainly dictate the budgeting for higher expenses than a clearance search in a relatively non-litigious environment, where the risk of infringement is relatively low.

In some stances, a knock-out search may be useful, wherein the search is conducted using a simple keyword strategy, as opposed to conducting a thorough search throughout various classes and sub-classes, and using a more complex keyword search strategy. 

If volume services are required, services may be negotiated to a relatively low flat fee.  Those that order volume service are in a great position to negotiate service expenses.

There is generally room to save on expenses in all types of services.  For example, patent graphics firms have been known to charge from $80 USD to $100 USD per sheet.  Other firms may provide comparable quality services for far less, $60 USD or less.  Additionally, minimizing the number of drawing sheets used in patent applications (i.e., as a guideline) to a reasonable number of drawing sheets may significantly minimize the cost of patent drawings. 

For a list of public searchers or patent research firms and patent graphics firms, see the Resources page.

If you have a question about attorney expenses, askme at thedford@askmeip.com.