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Inventors and companies often need help maintaining patents

On Behalf of | Apr 19, 2024 | Patent Law

A patent is not a static legal protection that is effective for years without additional effort. Contrary to what people may think, a patent doesn’t immediately offer decades of protection for an invention, manufacturing process or other original concept.

Inventors and businesses that secure patents also have to take regular steps to maintain those patents. Small mistakes can lead to increased costs for patent maintenance or might put a party with an interest in a patented concept or process at risk of losing their protection. The rules related to patent maintenance are so complex that outside support is typically necessary to ensure proper compliance.

What does patent maintenance entail?

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) requires that parties who hold patents regularly make an effort to maintain their patent protection. For example, it is necessary to pay maintenance fees and file paperwork every few years.

Patent holders usually need to pay a maintenance fee sometime between three and three-and-a-half years after obtaining the original patent. There is another filing required between seven and seven-and-a-half years and then 11 and 11.5 years after the USPTO issues the initial patent. The fee increases at each subsequent filing, with the third maintenance payment reaching nearly four times the fee owed at the time of the first maintenance filing.

It is not possible to file the paperwork ahead of time, so careful monitoring is crucial to effective patent maintenance. The fee schedule can be as confusing as the timeline for submitting paperwork. The size of the organization, the timing of the maintenance application and other factors can drastically alter how much it costs to maintain an established patent.

Small mistakes may compromise the intellectual property protections derived from patent prosecution. It can be prohibitively difficult to track necessary patent maintenance requirements without proper support, especially if there are multiple patents to protect.

Even businesses that have attorneys on retainer often seek out special support for patent applications and maintenance. Having the right assistance decreases the chance of a mistake or oversight when performing the patent protection that a company relies on to maintain a competitive edge. As such, reaching out to the team at Saile Ackerman LLC can be a smart move for businesses and inventors hoping to obtain or maintain a patent.