Malcolm ZoppiSun Oct 15 2023

How much does it cost to patent an idea UK

Patents are an important part of business protection and growth, but they come with a price tag.


Obtaining patents can be a complex process, especially when it comes to cost. Patents are an important part of business protection and growth, but they come with a price tag. If you’re considering filing for a patent in the UK, it’s important to know what costs you may face. In this blog post, we’ll take a look at the cost of patents in the UK and explore how you can save money on your patents.

What are patents good for?

Patents are an important part of protecting your ideas, products, and inventions. A patent gives you legal protection from other people or companies copying your invention without your permission. This can be very important for businesses looking to protect their investment and stop competitors who may copy their idea or product. Further, it will give you a strong right to sell the idea to people who want to buy a patent uk from you.

Patent App Idea

Many of our clients ask us “Can you patent an app concept?”

Depending on your invention, you may want to secure an ‘app idea patent’. Patenting an idea for an app is a bit more complex, as computer programs are usually excluded from inventions that may be patentable.

Although, if you have an idea for an app patent, GZ Legal will be able to advise on how to best express your invention to maximise chances of securing an app idea patent. Most important will be determining whether your app (which is based on computer programs) brings about an effect or consequence that, by itself, separately from the computer program, is new and shows and inventive step. Hence, we must show that you app has a ‘technical effect’ that has a practical application. In simple words, the mobile app idea must go beyond the mere routine operation of a computer.

Contact us here if you are asking yourself “can I get a patent?” or “can I patent an idea?”

The Cost of Patenting an Idea in the UK

We are often asked: “How much does it cost to patent an idea in the UK?”

The cost of patents vary depending on a few factors, such as whether you’re filing for a national patent or an international one. The biggest factor is usually attorney fees. According to sources, it the cost of filing a patent in the UK is usually around £4,000. This cost includes preparing paperwork and submitting the application. Additionally, there will be official fees associated with filing including search fee, examination fee and publication fee.  

Before getting started, you will also need professionals to help you express your idea via drawings. These are usually called professional illustrators and they will help you communicate to the relevant intellectual property offices what your idea is and how it is different.

We will now outline the above three main costs.

Professional illustrator fees

An experienced professional illustrator can produce illustrations quickly and accurately so that all elements of a patent application can be fulfilled with minimal disruption to filing deadlines. Depending on the complexity of your invention, illustration costs will vary from £150 – £600 per drawing. However, if you require more complex images or 3D animations for patents involving audio/visual products such as games consoles or medical devices then it could cost up to £2,000 per illustration.

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Illustrator of a Patent

Professional patent application drafting fees

Professional patent applications in the UK generally range from £2,000 to £6,000 + VAT. In the US, fees can be anywhere between $10,000 to $30,000. While this cost may seem high, it is important to remember that patents are valuable assets and can provide a company with protection for its intellectual property rights. An IP lawyer can help you meet the patent requirements in the UK. Furthermore, patents help create a competitive edge by protecting against competitors who might otherwise copy or use your inventions without authorization. By investing in professional patent services, companies can ensure their patents are robust and stand up to scrutiny when challenged in court. Ultimately, this helps safeguard investments made in research and development activities. In conclusion, although professional patent application drafting fees can cost thousands of pounds in the UK, investing in professional patent services is essential to protect intellectual property rights and gain a competitive edge.

Learn more about patent filing services here.

IPO filing fees

IPO filing fees (also known as the UKIPO patent fees) for patents in the UK vary depending on the type of application and the complexity of the product or process being patented. A basic patent filing fee costs around £200, while an accelerated filing will cost around £400. If a patent is filed online, there are additional fees that must be paid. An online search fee is required for each patent application and can range from £20-50 depending on complexity. The UK Intellectual Property Office has more information on specific fees.

For patents covering multiple countries, The Patents Cooperation Treaty (also know as PCT or informally as ‘patent cooperation treaty’) route can be used which allows applicants to file patents with several different countries under one international application. This has several advantages over filing patents individually including cost savings. The PCT route costs around £700-800 for a single application (cost of a worldwide patent fee). Unfortunately, this does not guarantee that you will be granted patent protection. Instead, it is a step in the right direction when you seek patent protection worldwide.

In addition to filing fees, there are also renewal fees associated with patents that must be paid every few years to keep the patent active and valid. These can range from £50-100 depending on the type of patent and the country where it was filed.

Finally, it is important to note that patents can take several months or even years to process and be approved by the IPO so applicants should factor this into their budget when planning for patent applications.  Overall, the cost of submitting a patent application in the UK will depend on a variety of factors such as the complexity of the product/process being patented, a number of countries covered.

Total cost

The total patent costs in a patent application process, including patent attorney fees, getting your prior art professionally drawn by an illustrator and the fees to file a patent with the IPO typically total around £5,000 to £6,000. As outlined above, if you file a patent application with the patent office and you have dozens of ‘claims.’ Please do note that this is not the end of the line it only means your application is filed. A patent attorney will be able to further advise on other costs in the patent process, such as resubmitting the application after it is objected to by the relevant patent office.

Click here to arrange a free patent lawyer consultation.

Provisional patent application

A provisional patent application is the first step of obtaining a patent in the United States. A provisional patent application is a temporary placeholder that allows inventors to establish an invention’s priority date. This is important because patents are awarded to the first inventor to create and document an innovation, not necessarily the first one to get it patented. By filing a provisional patent application, an inventor can secure their priority date while they continue developing their invention, conducting market research and/or seeking funding for commercialization. Provisional patents also allow inventors more time to secure patents with international intellectual property offices by providing them up to 12 months from the original filing date for any additional foreign filings or patents. Additionally, this type of application does not require as much information or detail as a non-provisional patent application.

Overall, a provisional patent application is an important first step for inventors in the US looking to secure patents for their inventions. It provides them with the opportunity to establish their priority date while continuing to develop and commercialize their invention. Filing a provisional patent application also allows more time for foreign filings or patents before having to commit to costly non-provisional applications. Ultimately, it’s an economical way of preserving your rights as an inventor and protecting your intellectual property.

Patent word in book from POV of a magnifying glass

Ways to Save Money on Patent Costs

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Patents don’t have to break your budget. There are a few ways that you can save money when filing patents in the UK. First, it’s important to do some research and compare different attorneys and their fees before making a decision. You may be able to find an attorney who charges a lower rate or offers a discounted fee structure.

Secondly, consider filing for national patents first. Filing for patents in the UK is usually more expensive than filing for patents elsewhere, so it’s a good idea to start with national patents and then move on to international patents if necessary.

For example, GZ Legal’s patent filing services are amonst the most affordable in the legal market and they come with an incredible amount of added value benefits at no extra cost. Learn more here.

Finally, make sure that you keep detailed records of all expenses related to your patent application. This will help you track costs and save money in the long run.

Patent cost vs patent protection: a brief cost-benefit analysis

When considering patents, inventors must weigh the cost of getting a patent granted against the protection that patents provide. The costs associated with patenting include fees for filing and prosecuting patents as well as fees associated with maintaining patents such as renewal fees, annuities, or maintenance fees.

On the other side of the equation is patent protection. By registering a patent an inventor obtains exclusive rights over their invention. This exclusivity prevents others from making, using, or selling the patented invention without permission from the patent holder. During the term of the patent, which is typically 20 years from filing date, an inventor can enjoy significant competitive advantages in the marketplace.

Overall, patents are usually advantageous for inventions that have a long and successful market life.


Patents can be a valuable tool for protecting and growing businesses, but they come with a price tag. If you’re considering filing a patent in the UK, it’s important to understand the costs associated with patents as well as ways to save money on those fees.

Learn more about patent filing services here.

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Disclaimer: This document has been prepared for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal or financial advice. You should always seek independent professional advice and not rely on the content of this document as every individual circumstance is unique. Additionally, this document is not intended to prejudge the legal, financial or tax position of any person.

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Get the specialist support you need

Whether you require specialised knowledge for your business or personal affairs, Gaffney Zoppi can support you.