Paying Your Dues ... Your Maintenance Fees Will Become Significantly More Expensive

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The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has recently published increases in maintenance fees that are effective on March 19, 2013. Careful attention to your maintenance fee schedule may provide a savings for those who elect to pay a maintenance fee prior to the fee increase.

All utility patents that issue from applications filed on or after December 12, 1980 are subject to maintenance fees, which must be paid to maintain the enforceability of the patent. Maintenance fees are due three times during the term of a patent, and may be paid without surcharge at: 1) three to three-and-a-half years after the date of issue for the first payment; 2) seven to seven-and-a-half years after the date of issue for the second payment; and 3) eleven to eleven-and-a-half years after the date of issue for the final payment.

Effective March 19, 2013:

  • the first maintenance fee payment will increase from $1,150 to $1,600 for large entities and from $575 to $800 for small entities. A new micro-entity fee will be $400.
  • the second maintenance fee payment will increase from $2,900 to $3,600 for large entities and from $1,450 to $1,800 for small entities. A new micro-entity fee will be $900.
  • the third maintenance fee payment will increase from $4,810 to $7,400 for large entities and from $2,405 to $3,700 for small entities. A new micro-entity fee will be $1,850.

Maintenance fees may be paid with a surcharge during the following “grace periods”: 1) three-and-a-half years and through the day of the fourth anniversary of the grant of the patent; 2) seven-and-a-half years and through the day of the eighth anniversary of the grant of the patent; and 3) eleven-and-a-half years and through the day of the twelfth anniversary of the grant of the patent.

Effective March 19, 2013:

  • the surcharge will increase from $150 to $160 for large entities and from $75 to $80 for small entities. A new micro-entity fee will be $40.

If a maintenance fee and any applicable surcharge are not paid, the patent will expire at the end of the applicable grace period.

Topics:  Maintenance Fees, Patents, USPTO

Published In: Intellectual Property Updates

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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