In order to keep your patent or patent application current, maintenance fees must be paid. If these fees are not paid on time your application will expire. For most countries, payment is an annual obligation. However, this is not the standard. If patent applications are filed worldwide, quite diverse legal rules may apply. There are countries where you only pay maintenance fees after the third year of filing. In some other countries payment is not required before the application is published or the patent is granted. Sometimes payment is required for a number of years in advance or afterwards. The method of payment of maintenance fees varies by country and depends on its respective laws.
Through our office, most patent offices will send a receipt of this payment. We will then verify these receipts according to your instructions. If all details are correct and recorded in our system, we will send you the official receipts.
Our patent administration system is set up to keep you posted of all installments due including the due date on which the maintenance fees must be paid.
The procedure is as follows:
Approximately six months before the expiration of the deadline for payment of the maintenance fee, you will receive a list of all applications for which a maintenance fee must be paid. On this list, you can specify which patents you want to keep or which ones you want to let expire. After review, you return the signed list to us. If necessary, we will send you a reminder if your instructions are not received by us within a reasonable amount of time. At your request, we will then pay for the patents that you want to keep. We honor the rule that maintenance fees are not paid as long as you have not given us written instructions to do so.
The costs include:
- a so called official fee, which is the amount payable to the patent office of the respective country in order to keep your application active;
- an agency fee: the amount that must be paid to the local agency that makes the actual payment to the patent office. This fee is not always necessary because in some countries maintenance fees are paid directly to the patent office without the service of a local agent.
- our fee: this is to manage the patent (application)s in our patent systems, send reports and reminders to you, various correspondence with and instructions to the local agency, or direct payment of the maintenance fee to the official patent office, take delivery of the official receipts (proof of payment of the maintenance fee), verify these receipts in our system and send them to you.
Even if we did not file patent applications for you, we can still manage and look after your current portfolio of maintenance fees. If you would like to use our services, it is necessary to consult us first since we do not have your data (yet) in our systems.
Please contact us if you would like to discuss various options. For this purpose you can use the form on this website.