By Donald Zuhn --
Earlier this month, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office published a notice of proposed rulemaking in the Federal Register (77 Fed. Reg. 55028) presenting its proposal for setting and adjusting patent fees (see "More on USPTO's Proposed New Fees"). The Office is currently seeking comments from the public regarding the proposed new fees, with such comments due by November 5, 2012. Comments can be sent by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org; by regular mail to Mail Stop -- Office of the Chief Financial Officer, Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office, P.O. Box 1450, Alexandria, VA 22313–1450, marked to the attention of "Michelle Picard"; or via the Federal eRulemaking Portal.
The notice states that implementation of the Office's proposed fee structure would mean that "for all applicants the routine fees to obtain a patent (i.e., filing, search, examination, publication, and issue fees) will decrease by at least 22 percent relative to the current fee schedule." According to the notice, the Office proposes to set or adjust 352 patent fees, 94 of which apply to large entities, 94 to small entities, 93 to micro entities, and 71 of which are not entity-specific. The patent fees that are proposed to change are listed in Table 4 of the notice (see pages 55039-42), where the Office provides the current and proposed fees for large, small, and micro entities (where applicable) as well as the dollar and percent change between the proposed and current fees. Focusing on the fees for large entities and sorting the patent fees as such fees might be paid during the course of prosecution, a list of the patent fees that are proposed to change is provided below:
Sorting the patent fees proposed to change by amount (from high to low) yields the following list: