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Patent Maintenance Fees

Maintenance of Patent Applications

According to the Patent Act and Patent Rules, an applicant who files a Canadian patent application must pay maintenance fees to maintain the application.

Maintenance fees must be paid for each one-year period from the second anniversary of the filing date of the patent application to the nineteenth anniversary and must be paid before the first day of the one-year period covered by the maintenance fee. It is important to note that the time limits for payment of patent application maintenance fees cannot be extended. 

For divisional patent applications, maintenance fees are calculated from the filing date of the parent patent application and are payable upon filing of the divisional patent application.

Abandonment and Reinstatement

If a maintenance fee is not paid, the patent application will become abandoned. The patent application may, however, be reinstated if 1) a request for reinstatement is made; 2) a maintenance fee payment within the one-year period following the due date is made; and 3) a prescribed reinstatement fee of $200 is paid.

A patent application cannot be reinstated if the one-year period for reinstatement has expired before payment of the maintenance and reinstatement fees or before a request for an extension of the reinstatement period is made.    

Standard and Small Entity Fees

Standard maintenance fee payments are: $100 annually between the second and fourth anniversaries; $200 annually between the fifth and ninth anniversaries; $250 annually between the tenth and fourteenth anniversaries; and $450 annually between the fifteenth and nineteenth anniversaries.

If an applicant qualifies as a small entity, the annual maintenance fees will be reduced.

As defined in subsection 3.01(3) of the Patent Rules, a small entity is "an entity that employs 50 or fewer employees or that is a university, but does not include any entity that a) is controlled directly or indirectly by an entity, other than a university, that employs more than 50 employees; or b) has transferred or licensed or has an obligation, other than a contingent obligation, to transfer or license any right in the invention to an entity, other than a university, that employs more than 50 employees."

Small entity fee payments are: $50 annually between the second and fourth anniversaries; $100 annually between the fifth and ninth anniversaries; $125 annually between the tenth and fourteenth anniversaries; and $225 annually between the fifteenth and nineteenth anniversaries.

Who Can Make Maintenance Fee Payments?

The authorized correspondent, which is typically the applicant's patent agent, is the only person entitled to make maintenance fee payments for patent applications.

Maintenance of Patents

According to the Patent Act and Patent Rules, a patentee must pay maintenance fees for prescribed periods to maintain the rights accorded to it by a patent. If maintenance fees were paid for the maintenance of a corresponding patent application, maintenance fees for the maintenance of a patent will not be payable for the same period.

Standard and Small Entity Fees

The standard and small entity maintenance fees are the same for the maintenance of patents as they are for the maintenance of patent applications.

Reissue Patents

Maintenance fees for reissue patents are due at the same times and for the same periods as the original patent for the unexpired term of the original patent. If maintenance fees were paid for the maintenance of the original patent or the application of the original patent, a maintenance fee is not payable to maintain the rights accorded to a reissue patent for the same period.

Due Dates

Maintenance fees are due on the same payment schedule until the last payment is made before the nineteenth anniversary of the filing date. Once again, it is important to note that the time limits for payment of patent maintenance fees cannot be extended.

If a maintenance fee is not paid on or before the anniversary date, the patent will be deemed to be in an about-to-lapse state. A patent or reissued patent in an about-to-lapse state will lapse if the maintenance and late payment fees are not paid within one year following the anniversary date. A patent that has lapsed cannot be revived.

Who Can Make Maintenance Fee Payments?

Unlike patent applications, maintenance fees for patents can be paid by either the patentee or by any person acting for the patentee, such as an authorized correspondent, owner or inventor.