Broader background

I am a private person, I do not own any company / business. I just realized recently I have some ideas worth patenting (worth = my own evaluation, hopefully objective). I will not be able to create products based on them, but they can be used by current businesses quite easily.

Specific background

  • I know that registering patents can be very expensive;
  • I read some articles that some company (ies) do not do research about prior conflicting patents, leaving the job to the patents office;
  • I would not mind to have my patents cancelled in case prior patents exist on the same subject;
  • I would not mind paying "symbolic" fees, but I certainly do not afford paying tens of thousands of dollars for each patent, in each country;
  • I know that different countries have different laws;
  • I only have generic information about what is involved.


Is it possible to register patents "cheaply"? How cheap? What would be the procedure (overview)?

I do not need the most extensive answer, just some (minimal) guidance. I did not find a similar question here when I searched.

Thank you.

  • Look at "small entity fees" for the US. However, what makes a patent expensive is the attorney/agent, not the USPTO.
    – user18033
    Apr 18, 2019 at 11:21
  • @DonQuiKong: I thought so, that the attorney is the expensive part. What does he do? Can I do that instead? Can some activities be skipped?
    – virolino
    Apr 18, 2019 at 11:24
  • Well, that's a pretty hard question. Basically, the attorney writes the patent description and claims. The attorney might do a prior art search if you want. That last part you can do yourself, with .. varying results. It takes some dedication and practice to get results that actually matter for your invention because many inventors don't have the experience with patents to identify what they should be looking for. Maybe the patent attorney could help you with that, I don't know if that would be worth the time/money.
    – user18033
    Apr 18, 2019 at 12:32
  • As to writing the description - honestly, some attorneys can't do it well after years of practice, others do reasonably well after maybe a year of learning (but of course it's not a year of constant practice in writing applications). From my own experience, without someone correcting my mistakes, my first applications would have been trash. So I wouldn't recommend anyone trying it on something important without someone else able to correct them. But again, the results vary broadly. I've actually seen one application written by a layman which was, partly, quite good.
    – user18033
    Apr 18, 2019 at 12:35
  • Summary: In my opinion, statistically speaking, no.
    – user18033
    Apr 18, 2019 at 12:36

1 Answer 1


First, except in a very few countries, patents are not "registered" they are "prosecuted". That means work and skill on the part of the person doing the prosecution. One could write up a description of an invention, add something like claims and file it.

The best written patent application has a very very high likelihood of an initial rejection. It will be in writing and will not be easy to understand. Without understanding the rejection, it will be very hard to overcome it. If all objections and rejections are not overcome, no patent will issue. By the way objections and rejections are different things - this is the tip of the iceberg of what you will encounter.

You can file your own patent applications. In the U.S. the fees for a micro entity are very low. However, for the applications to have any chance of becoming issued patents you would need to commit yourself to an extensive study of patent law and patent office procedures. To file in most other countries you need to either be a citizen of that country or file through an attorney pr agent allowed to do so.

You can, alternatively, put your ideas into the public domain and therefore keep others from patenting the inventions. It is also possible to get a company who is interested in your idea to pay for and handle the patenting as part of a license deal. There is a book called One Simple Idea whose thesis is that an inventor can make money by negotiating a license deal with a manufacturer prior to a serious application for a patent. You might try that route.

  • This is an excellent answer. However I think the OP is sufficiently clueless that even the word "prosecuted" isn't clear enough. Perhaps some more description of the process would be helpful.
    – Eric S
    Apr 18, 2019 at 19:57
  • Not a very optimistic view :( Just for curiosity now, what would be the taxes in different countries? An average? A min / max? Just to have an idea. I heard / read that it can go to the 40k range.
    – virolino
    Apr 23, 2019 at 6:23
  • The costs would be a combination of attorney/agent fees and local official fees (not taxes). The official fees would probably be less than 1/2 of the total. i would say your figure of $40k is a good estimate.
    – George White
    Apr 23, 2019 at 16:55

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