In most countries, patents have a term of 20 years from filing, and at the end of this period, the rights expire, meaning the material reverts into the public domain, free for all to use.
Between filing and expiration, annual renewal/ maintenance fees are usually payable to the national / regional patent office, commonly after grant on the anniversary of the filing date. Renewal fees increase exponentially year on year. The theses behind renewal fees is firstly an adminstrative fee by the patent office for keeping the Patent on the register, but commonly, it is believed to encourage a patent proprietor to abandon a granted patent case, should it not be an economic success; so that the matter can benefit the free pool of knowledge of the public domain.An exception is the US, where renewal fees are payable at periods of 3.5 years, 7.5 years and 11.5 years after grant.
For some jurisdictions, maintenance fees are payable before grant as well as after grant. This is true for European patent applications granted under the European Patent Convention.
Generally, missing payment of a renewal or maintenance fees may result in loss of rights, although in many jurisdictions an applicant has an extension period, as of right, in which the renewal fee may be paid, together with a surcharge for missing the payment deadline.
We can handle patent renewals at the European Patent Office, UK Patent office and in collaborationg with our international associates, in other Intellectual property offices around the world. Our system for payment of patent renewal fees are reliable and robust, and we run both an automated and corresponding paper diary. For more information, you can contact us on email@example.com.