What do patents, designs and trade marks cost? – 24 August 2012
Patents, design registrations and trade mark registrations are forms of Intellectual Property (IP) protection that can be used to stop others copying your products, processes and trade marks. They are also commercial assets which can be bought and sold like other assets.
Just like any other asset purchase, a business plan is important before investing in IP protection.
It is important to weigh up what IP protection will do for you and what it will cost. What is it worth to you to stop others copying your products, processes and trade marks? Is there a marketing advantage in labelling your product with a patent, design or trade mark number?
Patents can cover functional details of products and processes. Figure 1 shows indicative figures for a recommended route towards a standard (20 year) patent for a mechanical invention.
Costs in the first year are about $7,000 (+ GST). This includes an optional pre-filing search and a provisional patent application. The search gives an indication of patentability before further costs are incurred. Amongst other benefits, the provisional patent application gives an additional year of protection. Total costs over the 21 years of protection are about $26,000 + GST for Australia, or about $32,000 + GST for Australia and New Zealand together.
Figure 2 shows indicative figures for pursuing an innovation patent without searching, filing a provisional patent application or requesting examination. An innovation patent is a low cost option available in Australia only that allows you to mark your products (or processes) “Granted patent no. XXX” within a few weeks of filing, although examination is required before enforcement.
A design registration covers the appearance of a product. Filing an Australian design registration costs about $1,300 + GST and lasts for five years. The registration can be extended for a further five years by paying a renewal which costs about $700 + GST.
A trade mark registration can be used to stop others using deceptively similar trade marks in relation to selected goods and services to draw away your clients. Filing an Australian trade mark registration plus examination, acceptance and registration (which usually come up within months of filing) typically costs $1,500 to $4,000 + GST.
Patent and trade mark attorneys are IP experts ideally placed to advise on the form of protection that suits you and the applicable costs. The above figures are estimates. Actual costs depend on a wide range of factors.
If patent or design protection is of interest, it is important to keep the new product (or process) secret and not sell or commercially use it until an application for protection has been filed.