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2501    Introduction [R-07.2015]

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

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  • (b) MAINTENANCE FEES
    • (1) IN GENERAL. — The Director shall charge the following fees for maintaining in force all patents based on applications filed on or after December 12, 1980:
      • (A) Three years and 6 months after grant, $980.
      • (B) Seven years and 6 months after grant, $2,480.
      • (C) Eleven years and 6 months after grant, $4,110.
    • (2) GRACE PERIOD; SURCHARGE. — Unless payment of the applicable maintenance fee under paragraph (1) is received in the Office on or before the date the fee is due or within a grace period of 6 months thereafter, the patent shall 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.
    • (3) NO MAINTENANCE FEE FOR DESIGN OR PLANT PATENT. — No fee may be established for maintaining a design or plant patent in force.
  • (c) DELAYS IN PAYMENT OF MAINTENANCE FEES. —
    • (1) ACCEPTANCE. — The Director may accept the payment of any maintenance fee required by subsection (b) after the 6-month grace period if the delay is shown to the satisfaction of the Director to have been unintentional. The Director may require the payment of the fee specified in subsection (a)(7) as a condition of accepting payment of any maintenance fee after the 6-month grace period. If the Director accepts payment of a maintenance fee after the 6-month grace period, the patent shall be considered as not having expired at the end of the grace period.
    • (2) EFFECT ON RIGHTS OF OTHERS.— 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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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 entity status, responds to public inquiries on post-issuance status and maintenance fees, 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) 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: 11/04/2015 11:01:47