Can Patents Be Renewed? Maintenance and Duration Explained

June 21, 2023
# min read

Can patents be renewed? Considering patent renewal, there are a variety of elements to take into account. This post will explore the various elements of patent renewal and upkeep for different types of patents.

As you read on, you’ll discover how utility patents can last up to 20 years with proper maintenance and why design and plant patents expire after 14 years without ongoing financial upkeep. We’ll also discuss the importance of timely payment for maintaining enforceability as well as the consequences if required fees are not paid. By the end, you’ll know how and when can patents be renewed.

Furthermore, we’ll explore options available when a patent lapses due to non-payment and touch upon strategies for expanding patent coverage internationally. Lastly, we will guide you through acquiring expired patents and emphasize seeking professional assistance in navigating these complex processes.

Table of Contents

Can Patents be Renewed?

When asked the question “Can patents be renewed”, the simple answer is no. However, certain patents require maintenance to ensure enforceability depending on their type and duration.

Understanding the duration of a patent’s validity is crucial for businesses seeking to protect their inventions. Different types of patents exist, such as utility, design, and plant patents, each with its own duration and maintenance requirements. Each type has its own specific duration and maintenance requirements.

Utility Patents: Lasting up to 20 Years with Proper Maintenance

A utility patent lasts up to 20 years from its filing date if properly maintained. The USPTO necessitates the payment of maintenance fees at regular intervals after granting a patent to keep it valid and secure its protection under intellectual property laws. This ensures that your invention remains protected under intellectual property laws.

Design and Plant Patents: Expiring After 14 Years Without Ongoing Financial Upkeep

Design patents, which cover ornamental aspects of an object, expire after 14 years without any ongoing financial upkeep required by the patent holder. Similarly, plant patents, granted for new varieties of plants invented or discovered through asexual reproduction methods, also have a fixed term of 14 years with no additional payments necessary.

When it comes to “can patents be renewed”, it is important to understand the duration and maintenance requirements of utility, design, and plant patents in order to maintain enforceability. Paying timely maintenance fees for a utility patent is essential for keeping it valid and enforceable.

Protect your invention with a patent. Utility patents last up to 20 years, while design and plant patents expire after 14 years. #PatentProtection #Innovation Click to Tweet

Paying Maintenance Fees for Utility Patents

Even if the answer to “Can patents be renewed” is no, scheduled maintenance fees are still required throughout the duration of your patent.

To maintain utility patent protection, it is crucial to pay three maintenance fees at specific intervals post-issuance. At 3.5, 7.5, and 11.5 years post-grant of the utility patent by USPTO, fees must be paid in order to retain its enforceability over time. Each successive fee increases in price as the patent ages – this may vary depending on factors such as the size or complexity of the invention covered under it.

can patents be renewed


Importance of Timely Payment for Maintaining Enforceability

Maintaining enforceability is essential for protecting your intellectual property rights against potential infringers who might seek to exploit your invention without permission. By paying these fees promptly, you ensure that your patent rights remain active throughout their full term.

Consequences of Failing to Pay Required Maintenance Fees

  • Lapsed patents: If a required payment is not made within its deadline (including an additional six-month grace period), the utility patent will lapse and lose its enforceability.
  • Invention enters the public domain: Once a patent expires, anyone can use or sell products based on that invention without fear of legal repercussions from the original patent holder.
  • Lost revenue: Failing to maintain your utility patent may result in lost licensing opportunities or the inability to take legal action against infringers, ultimately affecting your bottom line.

Paying maintenance fees for utility patents is a critical step to ensure the enforceability of your patent. Consequences and the process of reinstating a patent if maintenance fees are not paid in due time should be taken into account.

Don’t let your patent lapse. Pay maintenance fees at 3.5, 7.5 & 11.5 years after issuance to maintain enforceability and protect your IP rights #patentprotection #IPrights Click to Tweet

Reinstating Lapsed Patents Due to Non-Payment

If a patent owner fails to pay required maintenance fees within deadlines, there is still hope for reinstatement. The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) offers a six-month grace period after the due date of each fee payment. During this time, you can make late payments along with penalty surcharges which allow reinstatement upon successful submission.

Six-month grace period window for missed payments

The USPTO understands that sometimes circumstances may lead to unintentional delays in paying maintenance fees. To accommodate such situations, they provide an additional six months from the original deadline for patent owners to submit their overdue payments without losing their rights over the invention. However, it’s crucial not to miss this extended window as failure to do so could result in permanent loss of patent protection.

Penalty surcharges applicable during the reinstatement process

In addition to paying the overdue maintenance fee itself, you’ll also need to cover a penalty surcharge when submitting your late payment within the grace period. These extra charges are imposed by USPTO as a deterrent against neglecting timely submissions and vary depending on factors like entity size or complexity of your invention (see current fee schedule here). It’s essential that both these amounts be paid together before the expiration of said extension lest risk forfeiting exclusive rights altogether.

It’s essential to note that patent renewal is not automatic. Patent owners must file a patent application for renewal with the USPTO. Experienced patent attorneys can assist with the renewal process and ensure that the patent owner maintains their patent rights. 

Reinstating a lapsed patent due to non-payment can be done within the six-month grace period window, but penalty surcharges may apply. Once the patent expires, the invention covered by the patent falls into the public domain, and anyone can use, make, or sell the invention without permission from the patent holder. Expanding your patent coverage internationally is beneficial and involves reciprocal agreements between participating nations.

Don’t lose your patent protection. Renewal is crucial. Experienced attorneys can help with the process and ensure you maintain your exclusive rights. #patentrenewal #intellectualproperty Click to Tweet

Expanding Patent Coverage Internationally

To remain competitive in today’s international market, businesses must take measures to secure their intellectual property rights both domestically and abroad. Pursuing patent protection in multiple countries can help ensure that your invention remains safeguarded from potential infringement by competitors operating outside of your home country. So even if the answer to “Can patents be renewed” is no, you still have options to expand your protection to your IP.

Benefits of Pursuing Multinational Strategies

  • Broadened protection: By securing patents in various jurisdictions, you can effectively prevent the unauthorized use or sale of your invention across different markets.
  • Increased market opportunities: With patents granted in multiple countries, you have the opportunity to license or sell your technology more widely, potentially leading to increased revenue streams.
  • Leveraging international treaties: Many countries are part of international agreements like the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), which simplifies the process of obtaining patent rights in member states.

Reciprocal Agreements Entered Among Participating Nations

The PCT system allows inventors to file a single international application that has an effect across all contracting states. Upon successful completion of certain procedures under this treaty framework, applicants may obtain national patents within each designated state without having to go through separate filing processes. Additionally, other bilateral and regional treaties such as the European Patent Convention (EPC) facilitate cross-border cooperation on IP matters between specific groups of countries.

Protect your invention globally. Pursuing patents in multiple countries broadens protection, increases market opportunities, and leverages international treaties. #patentprotection #globalstrategy Click to Tweet

Acquiring Expired Patents

By failing to pay maintenance fees, a patent may expire or lapse, thus making it available for purchase by another party.

Searching through online databases such as Google Patents or USPTO’s Public PAIR system

To locate expired patents, you can utilize Google Patents, which offers an extensive database of global patent information. The USPTO offers a search platform, Public PAIR, which allows users to obtain comprehensive information on particular patents within their area.

Negotiating with previous patent owners for acquisition

Once you have identified an expired patent that aligns with your interests, it is essential to approach the former owner professionally and express your intent in acquiring their intellectual property rights. Consider drafting a well-structured proposal outlining terms such as payment structure and potential benefits for both parties involved. In some cases, reinstating lapsed maintenance fees may be necessary; therefore, ensure you are prepared financially before initiating negotiations.

Revive your R&D with expired patents. Find them on Google Patents or USPTO’s Public PAIR, negotiate with previous owners & reinstate protection. #innovation #patents Click to Tweet

Seeking Professional Assistance

Engaging experienced patent attorneys when dealing with matters related to renewing or maintaining patents is highly recommended. These experts can help you avoid missing important deadlines or details which could result in costly consequences like losing exclusive rights over your intellectual property assets altogether.

Importance of Professional Guidance During Renewal Process

The patent maintenance and renewal process can be complex, especially for those unfamiliar with the legal requirements and timelines involved. A competent patent attorney can provide expert assistance to guide you through the renewal process, ensuring all required paperwork is correctly filed and submitted in a timely manner, thus avoiding potential pitfalls that may render your patent unenforceable. This significantly reduces the risk of errors that may jeopardize your patent’s enforceability.

Avoiding Potential Pitfalls and Costly Mistakes

  • Maintenance Fee Payment: Patent attorneys are well-versed in determining appropriate fees based on factors such as size or complexity of the invention covered under it, ensuring accurate payments at each stage of maintenance.
  • Lapsed Patents: In case a utility patent lapses due to non-payment, an attorney can assist in reinstating it by submitting late payments along with penalty surcharges within specified grace periods (source). They may also help negotiate acquisitions of expired patents from previous owners while addressing any outstanding issues regarding lapsed fees.
  • Multinational Strategies: For businesses looking to expand their patent coverage internationally, a skilled attorney can advise on reciprocal agreements among participating nations and guide you through the process of filing for patent protection in multiple jurisdictions.

Seeking professional assistance from experienced patent attorneys is crucial when dealing with patent renewal and maintenance. They can help you navigate the complex legal requirements and timelines involved, avoid potential pitfalls and costly mistakes, and ensure that your patent rights are protected.

Protect your intellectual property rights by seeking professional assistance from experienced patent attorneys when renewing or maintaining patents. #patentrenewal #intellectualproperty #legaladvice Click to Tweet


To answer “Can patents be renewed”, patents cannot be renewed although you can retain their enforceability through timely payment of maintenance fees for utility patents, while design and plant patents expire after 14 years without ongoing financial upkeep. Reinstatement of lapsed patents due to non-payment is possible within a six-month grace period window with penalty surcharges applicable during the reinstatement process. Expanding patent coverage internationally and acquiring expired patents are also viable options – even if the answer to “Can patents be renewed” is no.

If you need assistance with patent renewal or any other intellectual property matters, Cypris has experienced patent attorneys who can guide you through the process and help you avoid potential pitfalls and costly mistakes. Reach out to us now and discover how we can help secure your innovative ideas!

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