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What is a current average fee per hour for a patent attorney and patent agent?

Miami, FL |

I have a simple invention that has a simple mechanic character.
I am trying to see what cost I am looking at when trying to prevent it.

No moving parts by the way.

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Attorney answers 9


I need brain surgery. What is the average cost if the surgeon is a nurse, a family doctor, and a brain surgeon? Oh, you want a brain surgeon, So, what is the average cost for a brain surgeon with experience and one out of school? Oh, so you want one with experience, so then you have to consider many parameters and that is not an average answer at all.
I am a Registered Patent Attorney in Miami; I am an aerospace engineer with many years of actual hands on design. If you wish you can call me for a free 1/2 hour phone consultation at (305) 720-2080.

USPTO Registered Patent Attorney, Master of Intellectual Property law, MBA I am neither your attorney, nor my answers or comments in create an attorney-client relationship with you. You may accept or disregard my free advice in at your own risk. I am a Patent Attorney, admitted to the USPTO and to the Florida Bar.



I appreciate your reply. Yet as an individual with very limited financial resources has to choose among those alternatives, especially when his invention is more like a few stitches on a small injury rather than a complicated brain surgery. But thanks anyway!


At attorney Golab indicates, there is no easy answer to that question. Fees vary dramatically depending on numerous factors including geographic area, experience, firm size, etc. Complexity of the invention is not going to affect the hourly rate- it is going to affect the number of hours spent. Even if you knew the "average" fee, it would not tell you the rate for the attorney you actually want, which obviously could be significantly more or less.

I guess I will tell you what you already know: patent attorneys are more expensive than patent agents. Attorneys specializing in mechanical inventions are generally going to be less than EE or biotech. Attorneys in rural areas are less expensive than those in metropolitan areas. Non-attorneys in India are probably the cheapest of all.

Even the simplest patent application is probably going to cost you at least a couple thousand dollars, excluding the costs of examination and grant.


As you have no doubt determined, "it depends" is an answer we like to give... and in most instances on this forum it's the best answer we can give without knowing a lot more facts.

However, there are some general factors to consider when concerned about how much getting an application on file will cost you.

Generally, a patent attorney will cost you more per hour than a patent agent. While both can represent you at the USPTO, the attorney has more legal training upon whichthey should be able to draw when helping you and advising you. And there are additional things a patent attorney can do that an agent is not licensed to do... like contracts, licensing, litigation, etc.

As already mentioned, someone with more experience, even if more expensive per hour, should be more efficient and spend fewer hours on your application. So you'll have to find that point for yourself, between experience / efficiency / cost. Also, you might be able to negotiate a flat rate for preparing your application (or some other alternative payment method). Practitioners with enough experience should be able to extimate a flat rate and then you can decide what to do from there.

Generally, a practitioner (agent or attorney) working at a big firm will cost you more per hour than one working at a medium sized firm, who will be more than one working solo. There are pros and cons to deciding whether to choose a solo or a big firm, or somewhere in between... too many to dscuss here.

So what does all this mean... I think in the grand spectrum of experience, firm size, etc., you might be able to find an agent for something under $75 per hour and up to maybe $300 an hour or more. And you might be able to find a patent attorney for under $150 per hour and up to over $600 per hour (and even more, for big-name partners at big-name firms).

But there are other ways to pay, than per hour... like per page, flat-rate, task oriented, etc. So just ask what options are available with whomever you talk.

Also, when thinking about filing an application, you cannot ignore the non-attorney costs. Ask whomever you contact about the filing fees involved with the application.

And then after filing, within the first couple of years, you will have additional charges for answering examination office actions. Then, once allowed, you will have fees to get the application issued. And after the patent is issued, you will have several periodic maintenance fees to keep the patent pending, each of which is not cheap. All told, 15 years down the road, you likely will have spent more in fees than you did on the front end getting your application drafted. So the moral is, nit-picking attorney fees on the front end might be a little "penny wise, and pound foolish."

Best of Luck!

Legal disclaimer: This answer is not legal advice, but is for informational purposes only. My answer to your question does not create an attorney-client relationship between us. Please contact a licensed attorney in your area for competent legal advice.


If you are seeking the services of a patent attorney or patent agent for the preparation of a patent application, you should consider seeking a fixed fee rather than hourly rate. The latter can be "deceiving" as you probably are more interested in the final cost to you rather than the cost per hour.


The answer provided is only for general information purposes and does not constitute legal advice.


As my colleagues have answered above, it very much depends on a plurality of factors. If you are price sensitive, I would recommend you find an patent attorney willing to accept a fixed fee arrangement.


As many have said before, there is no absolutely authoritative source for this information. However, there are good published estimates. For example, the American Intellectual Property Law Association (AIPLA) publishes an economic survey of intellectual property attorneys every year that address these kinds of questions.

According to the most recently published AIPLA Report (2011), the average hourly billing rate for an intellectual property attorney or patent agent was $371 (mean). However, that is a broad category that encompasses trademark attorneys and copyright attorneys. The Report shows that the average rate quoted for drafting a patent application “of minimal complexity” was $7,000. For a complex mechanical invention it was $9000. That is the entire cost of drafting the application, and not an hourly rate.

This will vary to some degree from market to market, and based on the quality and experience of the patent practitioner.


Fees of both Patent Agents and Patent Attorneys are always negotiable.

The real issue is the task you are asking the Agent or Attorney to accomplish.

Simple inventions most likely solve simple problems that in all probability have been solved, many times over, and are published in patents already granted or applications already filed.

Access the Search Databases maintained by the the U.S Patent Office at and determine, to your satisfaction, that your simple invention has neither been described as such, nor described analogously. When you read a Patent found in your search, understand that it was a patent application most likely written by a patent agent or attorney on behalf of a client, and that is what you will be asking an agent or attorney to do for you for your simple invention.

While you are on the Patent Office website, determine the fees accessed by the Patent Office for filing, and processing a patent application to an issued patent, and thereafter to maintain it.

Next think seriously about your object - are speculating about a future value, or protection for a product you that intend to, or are manufacturing?

After serious evaluation addressing the above points with your spouse or confidant, call a Patent Agent or Attorney and inquire about his or her fields of expertise, and fees for an initial 1 hour consultation ($0 - $150.00)

Bring copies of the patents/published patent applications (or at least the Nos. of the Patents and Published Applications) you found in your search of the Patent Office databases to the consultation. Have a firm notion of the amount you wish to spend in light of business realities, and/or the depth of your pocket book. Remember that fees charged by a patent agent or attorney for preparing your patent application are typically based on hourly rates ranging from $100/hr to $600/hr, however phrased. Qualified patent drawings (required for mechanical inventions) cost between $50 - $250 per sheet for preparation. Patent Agents and Attorneys do not work on a contingent basis.

In the end, either because you found a patent describing your invention, or financial realities, your cost FOR TRYING TO PATENT YOUR SIMPLE MECHANICAL INVENTION will be the time spent searching the Patent Office databases plus the initial consultation fee charged by the Patent Agent or Attorney.

In other words, more likely than not with the advice of the patent agent or attorney consulted, you will conclude your simple invention is not patentable, or financially unrealistic to attempt to patent in context of your pocketbook and/or objectives.


As already suggested by one patent attorney, you should not only consider cost, but also experience. The analogy I like to use is as follows: would you rather have an experienced cardiovascular surgeon perform your triple bypass surgery for $30K, or a just-out-of-med-school surgeon do the same procedure for $10K? Since your life could literally depend on your answer to this question, I would hope that your answer is to go with the experienced surgeon for $30K. If not, please read no further.

In short, in patent applications as well as heart surgery, EXPERIENCE COUNTS! The life of your patent application can depend on the experience of your patent attorney/agent in the same way that your own life could depend on the experience of a surgeon performing a medical procedure on you! So it is always advisable to go with an experienced professional, regardless of the subject matter.

Assuming that you have continued reading this response, it appears that you do place some value on experience. (And I like to think that my 19 years of experience as a patent attorney counts for something towards this end.)

That said, my practice is to quote a client a "not-to-exceed" price for the preparation and filing of a patent application. In this way the client has certainty as to the final cost (rather than boarding a potential "runaway-billing-train").

In general, I can prepare and file a patent application for around $6000 (and this covers government fees, patent drawing charges, and attorney fees). This covers perhaps 70% of the work I do. The other 30% is either more than $6K, or less than $6K. In any event, you will be provided with a fixed quote. If you like the quote, we can do business; if you don't like the quote, then that's the end of our relationship (i.e., no charge to you for providing a quote).

If you wish to discuss further, please call me at 509-534-5789.

John Reid (Reidlaw, L.L.C.;


Average is difficult to say. Most large firmst are in the controversy (patent litigation) business and consider the individual inventor application to be a nuisance. I can only speak for my own charges

I charge $190 per page and $130 per sheet of drawings. Filing fee is $530 for a small entity. Most inventors start with $6,000 and we compute compute the number of pages times the page rate above; and number of drawings times the sheet rate above and subtract these totals and the filing fee from the initial payment to compute overages / underages which are paid at time of filing.

I have built my career around serving the startup inventor.

Because I have master's degrees in electrical and chemical engineering, I handle electrical, mechanical and chemical inventions in depth.

Because of my advanced law degree in taxation, state bar tax specialization and familiarity with INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY TAXATION it works to the inventors benefit in helping inventors maximize tax advantage on startup, entity formation, and especially in evaluating the after-tax licensing income to compare IRS sale versus non-sale tax treatment; and passive/active income advantages/disadvantages and the use of options to delay sale where it is an advantage.

Please feel free to visit my web site and its library

Please remember to designate your question's BEST ANSWER.

Curt Harrington
(562) 594-9784

Curt Harrington Patent & Tax Law Attorney Certified Tax Specialist by the California Board of Legal Specialization PATENTAX.COM This communication is general information and not legal advice, and does not create an attorney-client relationship. This communication should not be relied upon as any type of legal advice. Please note that no attorney-client relationship exists between the sender and the recipient of this message in the absence of either (1) a signed fee contract and (2) remission of an agreed-upon retainer. Absent such an agreement and retainer, I am not engaged by you as an attorney, nor is any other member of my law firm.

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