The Patent Office charges fees for receiving and processing patent applications. It levies filing, search, and examination fees for all non-provisional design patent applications and utility patent applications. These fees vary depending on whether the applicant is large, small, or micro entity. The fees fluctuate depending on the structure of the claims. The Patent Office also charges an application size fee.
Most applicants are aware that the Patent Office charges fees for excess claims. Excess claims are defined in a few ways. First, there can be a charge for “multiple dependent claims,” but such claims are written so infrequently that those fees can almost be ignored. Second, the Patent Office charges for each independent claim in excess of three. Third, the Patent Office charges for any and all claims in excess of twenty claims.
Patent attorneys are accustomed to drafting only 20 claims in 3 sets, and so applications often do not incur excess claim fees. Most attorneys remember that when they run over the 3 independent / 20 total claim limit, the application incurs excess claim fees. It is easy to write more than 20 claims. If I write more than that for a patent application, then I present them to the client and we consider whether to remove or keep them. But many applications include only 20 claims.
Patent applications can also incur an “application size fee.” These are charged when an application has a lot of pages. While it is relatively easy to present more than 20 claims, applications in excess of 100 pages are much less common.
100 pages is a lot of specification pages for a patent application. However, it isn’t just the detailed description that counts toward the 100 page limit. Instead, the Office considers the number of drawing pages (and the number of claim pages, if not included together with the specification). Applications pushing toward 100 pages in length on the detailed description side often have a correspondingly-large number of drawings which can push them over the hundred-page limit.
Because most applications usually have 20-50 pages, the application size fee can be easy to forget. If forgotten, the Office will issue a Notice of Missing Parts to correct the error, either by eliminating pages (not likely to happen) or by paying the forgotten application size fee together with any surcharges.