Patents can be an expensive business. However, there are a number of ways you can reduce the fees for a new application.
Today: claims fees.
Many national patent offices punitively price excess claims fees to make their jobs easier during examination. It is fairly easy to be caught out by this practice and see your official fees double for fairly little return.
In Europe excess claims fees are due for all claims over 15. The 16th to 50th claims have fees of 210 euros each. Each claim over 50 has a fee of 525 euros. (Correct as of 6 August 2010 – see here for current fee schedule).
In the US excess claims fees are due for all claims over 20. Each claim over 20 has a fee of 52 dollars. Independent claims in excess of 3 have a fee of 220 dollars. Multiple dependent claims get hit with a 390 dollar fee. (US fees are reduced by half for a small entity – correct as of 6 August 2010 – see here for current fee schedule).
If you are thinking about filing a patent application in Europe or the US, and the issue has not been raised, ask your patent attorney about whether there are any claims fees payable on your application. If there are you may wish to reduce the number of claims within your claim set, remove multiple dependencies or reduce the number of independent claims. Often dependent claims of limited value can be cut (e.g. claims of the form: “and the result is displayed on a display device…”).
If possible aim for a maximum of 15 claims in Europe and a maximum of 20 in US.
If further possible aim for no multiple dependencies and a maximum of 3 independent claims in the US.