How to File a U.S. Patent for Free

By Adam Cloe

Filing for a patent can be a very expensive process. In general, getting a patent approved can cost upwards of $1,300, which does not include the services of a patent attorney. These fees are due over a period of time as the patent goes through the approval process, but include $200 to $300 for filing the patent to begin with, as well as additional fees for the approval process and for receiving a copy of the official patent approval.

Create a patentable invention. Things that are patentable include new processes, designs for an object or plants. Patented objects must be unique, useful and non-obvious.

Fill out a patent application. Information for filing a patent can be found at the website of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (see Resources). Be sure you know enough about the process to file without using a patent attorney.

Demonstrate financial need or hardship and provide a letter explaining why your patent is in the public interest. You will need to provide documentation as to why you cannot afford the fees for your patent, including bank statements and your financial history.

Contact an officer of your local patent office. A patent officer will be able to submit a formal request to have your fee waived to the director of the U.S. Patent Office.

Contact any federal government branch. In the event that a patent officer is unable or unwilling to convince the director to waive your fee, another request may be made by any member of a government branch. Your best options are to contact offices in the Department of Commerce, including the Economic Development Administration or the International Trade Administration. Be advised, however, that it will be extremely difficult to get the director to reconsider his initial ruling.

About the Author

Adam Cloe has been published in various scientific journals, including the "Journal of Biochemistry." He is currently a pathology resident at the University of Chicago. Cloe holds a Bachelor of Arts in biochemistry from Boston University, a M.D. from the University of Chicago and a Ph.D. in pathology from the University of Chicago.