Patent costs


Patent costs essentially consist of 3 Ingredients together:

  • Formulation of the patent specification
    • depending on the scope, complexity, experience of the lawyer, etc.
      • approx. 2.500-10.000€ (incl. claims, description, summary, drawings)
  • Fees for registration (incl. administrative costs)
    • depending on the registration modalities
      • approx. 990€ (DE, national) - approx. 5,000€ (PCT, international)
  • Annual and maintenance fees
    • depending on registration modalities & duration

The following graphic shows an example of the cumulative costs for different registrations.

Fig. 1 - Own illustration
* Costs of the formulation by a patent attorney approx. € 7,000 (medium to high complexity)
** European application (EP) in DE, UK, FR, IT
*** International application (PCT / WO) in at least 8 states

National registrations can cost between €10,000 and €20,000 over a period of 20 years. During so-called Collective registrations (PCT, international) can exceed the €100,000 mark after just 10 years. This is because the maintenance fees have to be paid in parallel at several national offices. Incidentally, this also applies to the application fees.

Against this background, it becomes clear: Patents should by no means be assessed solely from a legal perspective. Continuous economic consideration is just as important. In this way, unnecessary additional costs can be avoided. In the following, the various cost components and their composition will be discussed in more detail...


Before filing the application, the patent specification must be formulated. Thereby the costs can vary greatly. However, due to the fees of patent attorneys (approx. 250-300 € / h), one should assume several thousand euros.

Normally, the attorney will first determine the state of the art and familiarise himself with the subject matter. This is often followed by interviews with inventors and the preparation of drawings. Finally, the written formulation takes place, which usually requires several revisions. This involves a Length of 20-30 pages not unusual.

In terms of formulation, there are various factors that significantly influence the amount of work involved:

  • Complexity of technology
  • Scope and quality of the description of the invention
  • Experience of the patent attorney
  • State of the art already determined (yes / no)
  • Drawings available (yes / no)


It is generally advisable to engage a patent attorney with a relevant technical background. The attorney's experience influences both the quality of the patent and the course and outcome of the application process. In addition, the time required to determine the state of the art and familiarise yourself with the subject matter is reduced.


A further component of patent costs is the official fees. The following table shows an overview of selected countries:

In addition administrative costsarising from a patent application. This includes, for example, the assumption of official representation by the patent attorney. Especially for Registrations abroad In addition to the official fees, there are additional administrative costs. These arise due to the necessary correspondence between the domestic and foreign lawyers involved.

Annual fees

The third component of the patent costs is the so-called renewal fees for maintenance.With If you register in several countries, these fees are incurred several times. The chart above provides an example of these costs in relation to the lifetime of patents.


This can result in considerable costs over the 20-year term. Under certain circumstances, these can be offset by licence income. However, it is also conceivable that a patent could be commercialised or exploited before its lifetime expires.

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