IP strategists suggest that having a right strategy in place right from the outset of invention disclosure will help companies cut down their overall patent maintenance costs. With a little planning and preparation, you can learn how to manage your costs and achieve significant savings. Established companies, regardless of their assets or market values, look for every possible way to reduce direct and indirect costs.
In order to keep a US patent in force, the US Patent & Trademark Office requires that patent owners make maintenance fees at years 3.5, 7.5 and 11.5 after grant. This is in addition to filing, search, examination and post-filing fees.
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Patent maintenance fees continue to increase. However, once the patent has issued, the USPTO does not provide any ongoing services to the patent holders. Therefore patent holders are correct in wondering why they must pay patent maintenance fees and why the fees are increasing. The requirement of maintenance fees has both economic and public policy reasons. First, maintenance fee revenue is used to fund the operations and expenses of the USPTO such as the examination of new patents. Second, maintenance fees allow for the promotion of progress of science and useful arts.
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