The estimated cost for a small business entity to file for a patent and maintain the patent with the associated fees for the long term can range from $220,000 to $440,000.
Is this realistic, and if so, what does this estimate include?
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In the context that the upcounsel article was written -- for the all-in cost of filing, prosecuting one application and then paying off maintenance fees to expiration for ONE patent in (presumably) ONE jurisdiction -- the stated fees are ABSOLUTELY NOT realistic. Even the low end of $220,000 would be insanely expensive.
What happened was that the author of this upcounsel article went online and found a reference that stated "$220,000 to $440,000" for patent work without understanding the context of the information that these costs are for filing in the USA and 9 other countries. That's a lot of jurisdictions.
See the original reference that suggested $220,000 to $440,000 to file and maintain patents in 10 countries.
I would estimate that $20k to $35k total is a more reasonable estimate for all-in cost for a small entity filing in the USA (all attorney's fees, USPTO fees to expiration). If you multiply this by 10 (and add extra costs due to foreign jurisdictions), you'll actually get back to around the original figure. But again, this is for 10 countries.