Friday, February 5, 2010

Failed to Pay Maintenance Fees: Is the Patent Lost?

Dear Rich: Help! A friend of a friend failed to pay his patent maintenance fees timely and his patents have expired. Is there any way to pay a late fee and "revive" the patents? Yes there is. If it's been less than two years since the patent expired, you can revive it if you pay the fee and a surcharge of between $700 and $1640 depending on whether the reason for the failure was 'unavoidable' or 'unintentional.'  You'll need to file a petition and you can learn more about the requirements, here. If it's been more than two years, you can revive the patent only if you can show the failure was unavoidable. This article explains it better than the Dear Rich Staff (and we recommend the blog to all patent fans).