The cost of obtaining a patent in the life sciences is high and likely to get higher, even as a growing legal complexity and regulatory logjam lengthen the amount of time it takes to get the patent in hand.

"Most people don't like to hear it, but they know it is going to cost quite a bit," says Robert Hunter, a registered patent agent who practices out of Kamuela, Hawaii. "Quite a bit" generally means more than the price of a minivan but less than the sticker on a Hummer, or somewhere in the neighborhood of $10,000 to more than $30,000. This includes legal and other fees for applying for a patent, as well as US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) fees. The wide variability in cost stems from biotech patents typically having lots of claims, and many fees are per-claim, not per-patent.

While landing a patent may not break...

Interested in reading more?

Magaizne Cover

Become a Member of

Receive full access to digital editions of The Scientist, as well as TS Digest, feature stories, more than 35 years of archives, and much more!
Already a member?