Patent Expiration – How long do they last and how do I renew?
08 December 2016 by Michael Downing
A patent gives you monopoly rights on your invention. In order to retain these rights, you must regularly renew your patent. It’s important you keep track of renewal dates to ensure the best possible protection.
Here are some guidelines to help:
When do you need to renew your patent?
UK renewal fees start 4 years after you filed the application. You will then need to renew your patent once a year close to the due date, which is the last day of the month in which you first filed.
To ensure you do not get hit by late payment fines you need to renew before the deadline, or no later than 1 month after. You can submit the renewal fee up to three months ahead.
You will still be able to renew up to 6 months after the due date, but you’ll have to pay a surcharge on top of the renewal fee for each extra month that you are late paying.
After the end of this 6-month grace period, if the renewal fee is not paid, the patent right lapses. Reinstatement is possible, but only if there has been a genuine error which caused the lapse of the patent. Even then, if a third party started to use the invention in good faith while it was lapsed, you won’t be able to stop them from carrying on.
You can renew your patent for up to a maximum of 20 years from its filing date. After that point, it cannot be renewed any further and will lapse.
Where can I renew my UK patent?
- Online – visit https://www.patent.service.gov.uk/renew to complete the forms and payment online.
- Post – to renew by post you will need to fill in the renewal form, fee sheet and applicable fee to the Intellectual Property Office (IPO). Forms 12 and FS2 can be obtained from the Intellectual Property Office or downloaded from their website.
- Phone – you can call the IPO on 0300 300 2000
What documents you will need to renew
- Your patent number – which will start with either ‘GB’ or ‘EP’
- Your debit or credit card, or an Intellectual Property Office (IPO) deposit account to make payment
- Your email address – so you can receive your certificate of payment
How much does it cost to renew?
The level of the fee increases for every year in which the patent is in force. The official fees are set by the UKIPO and range from £70 for the 5th year to £600 for the 20th year. The official fees are subject to periodic increases, and these are usually published online by the UKIPO.
If the patent is endorsed “licence of right” the owner of the patent only has to pay half the amount of the renewal fee which would otherwise be payable. This endorsement means that you promise to grant anyone a licence if they ask – that means you can’t stop people from using your invention, but you can insist on a reasonable royalty. If you can’t agree a royalty with someone then the Patent Office can arbitrate.
If you use a firm of patent atorneys to renew your patent for you, then they will make a charge on top of the official fee. However, you can be confident that they will keep a database of the patents in their care and will get in touch to remind you ahead o fthe next renewal fee.
Looking for professional advice?
Renewal fees can however be managed by your intellectual property company or patent attorney. If you do not currently have someone to reach out to for advice, please contact Michael Downing at Downing IP on 01494 422626 or email email@example.com who can take care of any patent related queries you might have.