We all read in places (magazines, Internet, books...) that different scientists, throughout the history, registered tens, hundreds, and even thousands of inventions and patents.

However, if only one registration can cost on average $40k, how can someone register more than a bunch of patents by themselves?

The other side of the question is: Is the "system" of registering IP flawed, in the sense that it tends to be welcoming businesses in the detriment of individuals?

  • Patents are a business tool. They can be filed and pursued by an individual. Unless for vanity, the motivation would be to make money - more than the cost of the patent. If successful it can be a virtuous circle. The U.S. keeps official fees relatively low and discount them 75% for individual inventors.
    – George White
    Jan 8 at 7:05
  • @GeorgeWhite: I never thought about patents in that way - and it is a very interesting point of view, good food for thought. But a short "analysis" in my head tells me that patents are at the interface between persons (the actual inventors / innovators, either as individuals, or as employees / parts of organizations) and businesses. And that is why even regular people should be able to "easily" register patents. I will keep thinking. Thank you.
    – virolino
    Jan 8 at 7:11
  • If it was easy there would be patents on things that have been done and they would be imprecise at drawing the line between what the patent covers and what it doesn’t. Many think that is the case already but if was fill out a form and get a patent it would be much worse. The filing fee for a micro-entity (a person) is about $500. If it is granted there is an issue fee of about $300. A new copy of the book Patent it Yourself is $32 on Amazon. I’m a retired patent agent (look it up) and the most I made on a US application was about $10,000 with a median about $7000.
    – George White
    Jan 8 at 7:27
  • 1
    And “register” is not the proper term (other than a small number of places). That word implies you register and are then granted. It is used for trademarks and copyright but patents are applied for and prosecuted to potentially achieve a grant.
    – George White
    Jan 8 at 20:53
  • @GeorgeWhite: as you probably guessed, I am quite a noob on this topic. Thanks for taking the time to explain me things.
    – virolino
    Jan 9 at 16:34

1 Answer 1


The vast majority of inventors with over 100 inventions are working for a company (which they may have created, e.g. Kia Silverbrook) that pays for patent filings. Also, the 40kUSD you quote includes lawyer fees: patent filings are much cheaper if filing by oneself (e.g., see the USPTO fee schedule). Lastly, the main point of filing patents is to expand one's IP portfolio to generate revenue from it (e.g., collecting royalties or reselling patents): therefore, if one files for many patents, one would hope that the first patents help finance the more recent patent applications.

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