TAKEAWAY: Widespread patent fee increases take effect on January 16, 2018, with notable increases for inter partes review fees and design patent fees.

On November 14, 2017, the USPTO announced a rule changing the patent fee schedule, effective January 16, 2018. The new rule is the second exercise of the USPTO’s rulemaking authority pursuant to the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (AIA). The USPTO also published a table reflecting the fee changes. The discussion below references large entity fees, which are reduced by 50% for small entities and by 75% for micro entities.

Among the most substantial changes is the approximately 45% increase to fees for inter partes review, from $21,000 to $30,500. A large portion of that increase comes from the 72% increase to the inter partes review request fee, which will jump from $9,000 to $15,500. The new fee schedule also includes increases in filing, search, examination, and issue fees. The greatest increases are for design patents, where filing, search, and examination fees will increase by approximately 26%, rising from $760 to $900. Utility patent applications will see a more modest increase for filing, search and examination fees—from $1600 to $1720, for an increase of 7.5%. Design patent issue fees will climb from $560 to $700, a 25% increase. Meanwhile, utility patent issue fees will increase only 4%, from $960 to $1,000.

The USPTO also introduced new fees for the submission of so-called “mega-sequence listings.” Listings between 300 MB and 800 MB will incur a fee of $1,000 for large entities. A large entity fee of $10,000 will apply to listings of more than 800 MB.

The USPTO explained that its fee-setting strategy was guided by principles of operating within a sustainable funding model and to “continue strategic improvements, such as progress on patent quality initiatives, continued reduction of the patent application backlog and pendency, continued delivery of high quality and timely PTAB decisions, and continued investment in modernization of IT systems and infrastructure.” 82 Fed. Reg. 52781-82 (2017).