USPTO Proposed Fee Increases for 2025

The USPTO has announced its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) for raising fees in 2025.  The NPRM retains most of the fee adjustments that were first proposed in 2023, with only a few changes made in response to input from the Patent Public Advisory Committee (PPAC).  The fees are significant and can greatly impact some patent filing and prosecution strategies.  The changes in the USPTO fees are briefly described below.

Examples of Significantly Higher Fees

Examples of New Fees That Could Impact Filing and Prosecution Strategies

The NPRM does respond to feedback provided by the PPAC in 2023, but the fee increases generally remain unchanged.  Although the USPTO is required to accept and respond to properly submitted comments from various stakeholders through the Federal eRulemaking Portal by June 3, 2024, we would expect that the USPTO is unlikely to make any significant changes given the minimal changes that were made in response to feedback from the PPAC.

The new and increased fees are likely to impact patent filing and prosecution strategies for all of our clients.  However, different clients will be impacted in different ways.  We invite all of our clients to arrange for a discussion with us on how to reduce or minimize the impact of the increased and new fees on their budgets.

The Design Patent Bar

On November 16, 2023, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) announced a rule that will allow individuals with a design background to practice before the USPTO.  Specifically, the rule announces that persons can now sit for the patent bar when they have a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree in the field of:

However, persons who pass the patent bar with one of these backgrounds will be given limited recognition to prepare and prosecute only design patents. Accordingly, many have deemed this limited recognition to practice in design patents the design patent bar.

A design patent protects the ornamental design for an article of manufacture, which simply means the overall visual appearance of a product. Examples of designs include the ornamental designs of motor vehicles, furniture, clothing/apparel, consumer products, and graphical user interfaces, just to name a few. This differs from a utility patent, which protects the underlying make or use of a process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter. Due to the design patent bar’s limited recognition, design patent practitioners will not be able to practice before the USPTO concerning utility patent applications. By contrast, persons who sit for the patent bar under the pre-existing rules can practice before the USPTO with regard to both design and utility patents.

The rule is set to go into effect on January 2, 2024. At Thomas | Horstemeyer, we look forward to the expansion of practitioners who can practice design matters before the USPTO.

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