Skip to Content

What Are Patent Maintenance Fees?

Patent maintenance fees, also sometimes called patent renewal fees, are fees paid to the USPTO (The United States Patent and Trademark Office) to keep up a granted patent, typically a utility patent, that is already in force. With certain types of foreign patents, patent maintenance fees are also required for pending patent applications.

Patent maintenance fees are not mandatory for every type of patent. For instance, design and plant patents do not require maintenance fees. 

In the United States, patent maintenance fees are required for utility patents over the course of a 20-year period at three separate intervals. Patent maintenance fees are not required for design patents. This 20-year period begins at the time of patent filing or the priority date.

Maintenance fees are required at the fourth-, eighth- and 12th-year anniversary from the time the patent is granted. There is a "window period" in which the patent maintenance fees should be paid, which is a six-month period before the fee is actually due.

The attorneys at AdamsIP routinely handle maintenance documents and fees to keep our clients’ patents alive and in force.