Effective June 1st, the U.S. Patent Office updated its fee schedule to reflect an increase in the search fee for international patent applications that designate the Japan Patent Office (JPO) as International Searching Authority. The search fee increased from $1,385 to $1,465.
The current fee schedule for all International Searching Authorities is:
For patent applicants, designating the USPTO as ISA provides the opportunity to qualify for reduced fees (small entity or micro entity). However, cost should be just one of the factors considered when deciding which ISA to designate for a patent application.
Many of my clients opt for a foreign patent office as ISA based upon their potential markets. Not only will the search be different in scope, but it may be more relevant if the subject technology primarily resides in a country outside the United States.
The European Patent Office remains the most expensive option for ISA, while Australia, Singapore and Japan remain in an intermediate cluster.
The choice of ISA could impact a patent applicant’s future prosecution, both within the United States and globally. Cost, value, potential markets, and technical relevance are important factors to consider when selecting an International Searching Authority.