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What if I fail to maintain my patent?

On Behalf of | Oct 28, 2021 | Intellectual Property

Obtaining a patent can be an essential part of promoting your product. A patent offers your concept protection so that others cannot copy your idea.

Part of maintaining your patent includes keeping up with the fees and paperwork associated with it. One of the challenges to keeping up with a patent is that the fees are due every few years. You may not pay them early, so it can be easy to lose track of patent maintenance, especially if you have multiple patents.

Here’s what you should know about reinstating your patent if you fail to keep up with the fees.

There are grace periods

You will need to pay a maintenance fee on your patent every three, seven and 11 years. For each of these milestones, you will have six months to pay the fee without a surcharge.

If you miss the six-month window for paying the maintenance fee, there is a six-month grace period where you can pay the maintenance fee plus a surcharge and still maintain your patent.

Petitioning for reinstatement

If you miss both the deadline and the grace period, you are not entirely out of luck. You can still petition the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to reinstate the patent. Your petition must include the following:

  • Required maintenance fee
  • Petition fee
  • A statement that the delay was unintentional
  • Appropriate signatures

Keep in mind that if you make your petition more than two years after your patent expires, the USPTO may require additional information regarding the delay in maintaining your patent.