What are renewal fees?
Renewal fees are payments that must be made regularly to keep a patent in force. The renewal fees can be also called maintenance fees or annual fees. Such payments should be made to a respective patent office where the patent is valid or application pending.
Patent owner or applicant is required to pay renewal fees to the patent offices in respect of all the patent applications he/she owns. In Europe these fees are due in respect of the third and each subsequent year, calculated from the date of filing. Even if the patent is not granted yet, the applicant must still pay the renewal fees for the pending patent applications. It is different from some other jurisdictions, for example in United States or China, the renewal fees are paid only after the patent is granted.
Renewal fees can be validly paid more than three or two months in advance of the date on which they fall due. If the applicant fails to make the payment until the indicated deadline, usually the payment may still be validly made up to six months after the due date. Most offices charge extra for the late payment. In Europe you need to pay additional fee equal to 50% of the belated renewal fee if you are late to pay.
Some patent offices send the reminders for the payment. But not all. European patent office informs the applicant only when the due day is missed. Some offices may not send any reminders.
If applicant fails to pay the renewal fee and any additional fee in due time, the application is deemed to be withdrawn. In such cases it is almost impossible to reestablish the patent rights.
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