This list of frequently asked questions provides answers to common questions about online fee payment tools. For additional information or one-on-one assistance, you can send an email to FeesHelp@USPTO.gov(link sends e-mail) or call the USPTO Contact Center at 1-800-786-9199 (select option 3, then option 4).
Online Fee Payment Tools - Patent Maintenance Fees Storefront
What are the formatting requirements for a bulk file?
A patent maintenance fee bulk file must be prepared in .CSV format and contain these five columns in the following order:
Must be 7 digits or RE with 5 digits only; no spaces or special characters.
Must be eight digits only; no spaces or special characters.
Attorney Docket #
Up to 25 characters long; may contain spaces or special characters.
Must be four digits only; no spaces or special characters.
Must contain a decimal and two digits after the decimal; no spaces, commas, or other special characters.
File names are limited to letters, numbers, underscores, and hyphens only (no spaces).
How will I be notified when my bulk file payment is processed?
You will receive a confirmation email with a copy of the receipt upon completion. Alternatively, you can check your file status on the Bulk Payment History page.
How long will it take to process my bulk file?
Processing time varies based on the size of the file submitted. Transactions generally process and post within one hour. However, users may at times experience delays in the processing and posting of transactions due to the size of the bulk files.
Will my receipt be itemized if I pay for more than one patent maintenance fee in the Patent Maintenance Fees Storefront?
Yes, when you pay for multiple patent maintenance fees, your receipt includes a summary page and individual itemized receipt pages for each patent paid.
How do I obtain a receipt for a payment made through the Patent Maintenance Fees Storefront?
If you're using the Patent Maintenance Fees Storefront as a guest (i.e. not signed-in), you are able to download a copy of your receipt from the Patent Maintenance Fee Payment Summary page.
If you are signed-in, a copy of your receipt is emailed to you as a .PDF file attachment.
How many patent maintenance fees am I able to pay at once in the Patent Maintenance Fees Storefront?
If you're using the Patent Maintenance Fees Storefront as a guest (i.e. not signed-in), you're able to pay up to ten patent maintenance fees at once.
If you are signed-in, you're able to utilize the "Add to Cart" feature to repeatedly add up to ten patent maintenance fees at a time to your shopping cart. The shopping cart can hold an unlimited number of patent maintenance fees and you can pay for all of the items in your cart with a single transaction.
If you are signed-in, you also have the option to use the bulk upload feature for a large volume of patent maintenance fees.
Do I have to be signed-in to make a payment in the Patent Maintenance Fees Storefront?
No, you do not need to be signed-in to use the lookup or payment functionality in the Patent Maintenance Fees Storefront.
However, signed-in users have access to additional features including the ability to make bulk payments, pay with stored payment methods, and add items to the shopping cart.
What are the requirements for submitting a bulk file for payment in the Patent Maintenance Fees Storefront?
There are two requirements for submitting a bulk file for payment:
1. You must be logged-in prior to bulk payment submission.
2. You must have Fee Payer permissions on an active USPTO deposit account stored in Financial Manager with sufficient funds to cover the bulk payment.
What payment methods can I use in the Patent Maintenance Fees Storefront?
All Patent Maintenance Fees Storefront users are able to enter credit or debit card information for payment.
If you are signed-in, you are also able to select from any active stored payment methods (credit/debit card, deposit account, or EFT) in Financial Manager for which you have Fee Payer permissions.
If you wish to use the bulk file upload feature, you need to sign in and use a deposit account for payment.
Is there a limit to how many records I can submit in my bulk file?
No, there is no maximum file size; however, larger files may result in longer processing times.
Online Fee Payment Tools - Patent Maintenance Fees Storefront - Other
What is a bulk file?
In the Patent Maintenance Fees Storefront, a bulk file is a document in .CSV format that is used to submit maintenance fee payments for multiple patents at once.
Online Fee Payment Tools - Shopping Cart
Do the items in my cart expire?
Yes, items in your cart expire.
Patent maintenance fees remain in your shopping cart until midnight (ET) on the day they were added. After midnight (ET), items in the shopping cart are automatically removed.
Do I have to pay for every item in my cart at the same time?
No, you may pay for all items in your cart with a single transaction or select individual items or groups of items for separate payments. The default setting is all items selected.
If I add an item to my cart, am I required to pay for it?
No, adding items to your cart is for convenience only. It does not represent a commitment to pay. Your items are not considered paid until you check out from your cart and follow the on-screen prompts to complete your payment.
What benefits do the shopping cart provide?
Using the shopping cart provides an easy way to group multiple items into a single payment transaction or group similar items into multiple payment transactions as desired.
The shopping cart can also be used for short-term storage of items prior to payment. For example, if you wish to verify availability of funds or obtain client approval prior to payment, you are able to add the fee(s) to your cart and quickly check out later.
Do I need to be signed-in to use the shopping cart?
Yes, you need to sign in to use the shopping cart.
Is the shopping cart available in all USPTO storefronts?
The shopping cart is currently only available to Patent Maintenance Fees Storefront customers. Additional storefronts will be added with future releases.
Some storefronts may not offer the shopping cart option if it does not offer sufficient value in the context of the business process.