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2501    Introduction [R-08.2012]

35 U.S.C. 41   Patent fees; patent and trademark search systems.

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  • (b) MAINTENANCE FEES. — The Director shall charge the following fees for maintaining in force all patents based on applications filed on or after December 12, 1980:
    • (1) 3 years and 6 months after grant, $900.
    • (2) 7 years and 6 months after grant, $2,300.
    • (3) 11 years and 6 months after grant, $3,800.

    Unless payment of the applicable maintenance fee is received in the United States Patent and Trademark Office on or before the date the fee is due or within a grace period of 6 months thereafter, the patent will expire as of the end of such grace period. The Director may require the payment of a surcharge as a condition of accepting within such 6-month grace period the payment of an applicable maintenance fee. No fee may be established for maintaining a design or plant patent in force.

  • (c)
    • (1) The Director may accept the payment of any maintenance fee required by subsection (b) of this section which is made within twenty-four months after the six-month grace period if the delay is shown to the satisfaction of the Director to have been unintentional, or at any time after the six-month grace period if the delay is shown to the satisfaction of the Director to have been unavoidable. The Director may require the payment of a surcharge as a condition of accepting payment of any maintenance fee after the six-month grace period. If the Director accepts payment of a maintenance fee after the six-month grace period, the patent shall be considered as not having expired at the end of the grace period.
    • (2) A patent, the term of which has been maintained as a result of the acceptance of a payment of a maintenance fee under this subsection, shall not abridge or affect the right of any person or that person's successors in business who made, purchased, offered to sell, or used anything protected by the patent within the United States, or imported anything protected by the patent into the United States after the 6-month grace period but prior to the acceptance of a maintenance fee under this subsection, to continue the use of, to offer for sale, or to sell to others to be used, offered for sale, or sold, the specific thing so made, purchased, offered for sale, used, or imported. The court before which such matter is in question may provide for the continued manufacture, use, offer for sale, or sale of the thing made, purchased, offered for sale, or used within the United States, or imported into the United States, as specified, or for the manufacture, use, offer for sale, or sale in the United States of which substantial preparation was made after the 6-month grace period but before the acceptance of a maintenance fee under this subsection, and the court may also provide for the continued practice of any process that is practiced, or for the practice of which substantial preparation was made, after the 6-month grace period but before the acceptance of a maintenance fee under this subsection, to the extent and under such terms as the court deems equitable for the protection of investments made or business commenced after the 6-month grace period but before the acceptance of a maintenance fee under this subsection.

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Note: During fiscal years 2005 and 2006, and extended through fiscal year 2008, 35 U.S.C. 41(b) shall be administered as reproduced above.

Public Law 96-517, enacted December 12, 1980, established the requirement to pay maintenance fees for applications filed on or after that date. The statutory provisions regarding maintenance fees have been subsequently modified by Public Law 97-247, enacted August 27, 1982; Public Law 98-622, enacted November 8, 1984; Public Law 102-204, enacted December 10, 1991; Public Law 102-444, enacted October 23, 1992; Public Law 105-358, enacted November 10, 1998; Public Law 106-113, enacted November 29, 1999; Public Law 108-447, enacted December 8, 2004; Public Law 109-289, enacted September 29, 2006; Public Law 109-369, enacted November 17, 2006; Public Law 109-383, enacted December 9, 2006; Public Law 110-5, enacted February 15, 2007; Public Law 110-92, enacted September 29, 2007; Public Law 110-116, enacted November 13, 2007, Public Law 110-137, enacted December 14, 2007; Public Law 110-149, enacted December 21, 2007; and Public Law 110-161, enacted December 26, 2007.

I.   MAINTENANCE FEE BRANCH

The Maintenance Fee Branch of the Receipts Accounting Division of the Office of Finance provides specialized advice and guidance to the public on maintenance fee matters.

The Maintenance Fee Branch determines the proper status of issued patents which are subject to payment of maintenance fees, receives and processes fee transmittals, updates small entity status, responds to public inquiries on post-issuance status and maintenance fees, determines if  patents have expired, and determines if maintenance fees are timely and properly computed. This Branch also generates the data necessary to produce Official Gazette notices of maintenance fees due and of expiration of patents due to failure to pay maintenance fees.

II.   OFFICE OF PATENT APPLICATION PROCESSING

The Office of Patent Application Processing (OPAP) updates patent post issuance automated files with the following information:

  • (A) Changes of Correspondence Address
  • (B) Powers of Attorney and Revocations Thereof
  • (C) Withdrawals of Attorneys and Agents
  • (D) Changes to Entity Status

The official mailing address for submitting requests to update all post-issuance patent information is:

Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office
Mail Stop Post Issue
P.O. Box 1450
Alexandria, Virginia 22313-1450

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Last Modified: 03/27/2014 10:10:34