10 Steps – How Much Does it Cost to Patent an Idea Worldwide


10 Steps – How Much Does it Cost to Patent an Idea Worldwide  

The value of an idea can be incomprehensibly colossal considering the fact that most multi-billion industries that are ruling the markets today started out as ideas. Anything valuable calls for protection and when it comes to ideas, patents provide just that.

A patent gives and preserves an idea owner’s right to make, license, and sell the resultant product. Without it in place, laboring to come up with a revolutionary way of doing things may benefit humanity, and yet leave the inventor with no significant financial gain to show for his/her efforts and creativity. To shed more light on patents, below are 10 steps on how much it costs to patent an idea worldwide.

How to patent an idea worldwide

With enough resources, it is possible to patent an idea worldwide. However, the use of the term ‘enough resources’ in this context is somewhat modest since the only way to get a legally sound patent the world over is by filing for patents in all the nations in the world which is expensive.

The average cost for patenting an idea worldwide

The above world patent acquisition strategy is not only financially expensive but also taxing time-wise, as well as labor-wise. According to estimates by experts in the field, undertaking a nation-by-nation filing project would require no less than $1,000,000. Taking into account that the idea in question is probably yet to bear financial fruits, this method, therefore, is too expensive for the average individual with a great idea.

The feasible most cost-effective alternative

To get around this hurdle of insurmountable world patent costs, countries came together and signed a treaty in 1970 that allowed for citizens of member states to file a single patent that was recognized and enforceable in each of the nations called the PCT (Patent Cooperation Treaty).


The PCT allows citizens to file for sound patents at sensible issuance and filing costs. It is also commonly referred to as an international patent although some world nations do not subscribe to the treaty. It, therefore, offers the most reasonable channel for acquiring a widely recognized patent and idea protection.

Cost of a PCT

The cost of a PCT is not constricting since it stands at an average of between $4,000-$5,000. Factoring in the probable value of a revolutionary idea, which may run into billions if properly implemented, the above quoted expense becomes even more reasonable.

Limitations of a PCT

The PCT has a caveat in that it offers idea protection for only 2 years. What this means is that after filing for a PCT, the legal protection accorded dissolves after 2 years.

To get around this, it is imperative to locate the core market of one’s products and services and file for single patents in each of the countries within the 2-year period accorded by a PCT patent.

The strategy for driving down the cost of patent applications

It is evident by now that a PCT only buys time for singular patent application in core market countries. In reality, however, it is not necessary for a company or business to file for patents in all market countries. A workaround strategy exists that is going to be discussed below.

The trick to reducing necessary patent filings and consequently, costs, is to file for patents in countries where competitors are, or are likely to emerge from. A good example can better illustrate this strategy: if a U.S resident develops a revolutionary acrylics technology, the first two places to file patents in should be the U.S, and China since the majority of acrylics are produced in China and sold all over the world. Once china, the biggest competition source in this case is covered, one easily manages to protect the idea “at the source.”

Costs related to enforcing International patents

After acquiring a PCT, the biggest challenge cost-wise becomes enforcing the same. Enforcing costs can run into millions of dollars depending on the specific market and the related laws and judicial system. However, the good news is that many main markets such as the U.S, The U.K, Canada, Australia, Japan and China have made it easier and cheaper to enforce PCTs and all patents in general.

The cost implications of filing a quality PCT

Patents fall into 3 categories: utility, plant, and design patents. Every patent must fall under one of these categories. Furthermore, it should be well drafted inclusive of claims. Otherwise, effort, time and finances might be spent in vain filing for a PCT only for unscrupulous individuals to alter a miniature, irrelevant to the consumer aspect of an idea, and implement the same having gained immunity from the filed patent.

Costs of filing patents in major markets

Below are some of the average costs for filing patents in various major world markets.

United States $5000-$6000, Mexico $3000-$5000, South Korea $6000-$8000, China $5000-$7000, Australia $3000-$5000, Japan $8000-$12000, Germany $5000-$8000, Canada $1000-$2000, European Patent Application $6000-$8000, India $3500-$5000.

Final thoughts

The best way to go about filling for an international patent would be to hire a patent attorney who will give guidance regarding patent and claims formulation, as well as the issuance and filing process. Also, since all the quoted costs in this article are rough estimates, only an attorney can give the specific application price depending on the patent in question.