The US Patent & Trademark Office (PTO) announced proposed patent fee increases. Patent fees would increase by about 5% across the board because of inflation.
Certain fees would be increased by substantially more than the 5% inflationary increase to reduce subsidization from other fee sources. For example, the overall design patent fees would increase by 48%, based on a 27% increase in filing, search and examination fees and a 76% issue fee increase. The PTO also proposes a 100% increase in the excess claim fee for each claim over 20, and a 25% increase in the fee for each independent claim over three. Because the costs of reviewing patent term extensions is complex, the PTO proposes fee increases of 196% to 468%. The PTO also proposes a fee of $500 for filing an After Final Consideration Pilot (AFCP) 2.0 request, and new fees for filing an information disclosure statement (IDS) that causes the number of applicant-provided citations to exceed 50, 100 or 200 citations, respectively.
To offset the loss of future maintenance fee payments, the PTO proposes fees of $1,500 for continuing applications filed more than three years from the earliest benefit date and $3,000 for continuing applications filed more than seven years from the earliest benefit date.
Other proposed fee increases are intended to expedite the patent examination process. For example, the PTO proposes a 25% increase in the fee for a second request for continued examination (RCE) and an 80% increase for a third or subsequent RCE. The fee for a terminal disclaimer filed after the first action on the merits and before a final rejection would increase by 194%. After a final rejection or notice of allowance, the fee would increase by 371%. On or after a notice of appeal, the increase would be 547%, and the proposed increase for filing a terminal disclaimer in an issued patent would be 724%.
The PTO further proposes increasing Patent Trial & Appeal Board America Invents Act (AIA) trial fees by 25%. The PTO also proposes new fees for inter partes review (IPR) and post grant review (PGR) petitions that exceed the word count limits. For example, the PTO proposes a 50% higher fee for petitions that exceed the word count limit by up to 50%, and a 100% higher fee for those that exceed the limit by up to 100%.
A public hearing is scheduled for May 18, 2023. Those wishing to present oral testimony at the hearing must submit a written request by May 11, 2023. Written comments on the proposed fees will be accepted until May 25, 2023.
The PTO anticipates that the fee changes will be implemented around January 2025.
More details, including a complete list of the proposed fee increases, can be found on the PTO website.