Renewal of a patent is a requirement to retain monopoly rights on your invention. You can renew a patent online, by post, or by calling the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) in the United Kingdom.
The UK patent renewal process allows you to re-establish monopolization of a GB patent or European patent (UK). As a rule, it takes less than 5 minutes to renew and pay for a patent online.
The first occasion to renew your patent will be the fourth (4th) anniversary of the date you filed for it. Subsequent renewals fall every year close to the 'due date' (last day of the month you first filed).
To renew your UK patent you will need:
Note: You can avoid late payment fees by renewing your patent up to three (3) months before or no later than one (1) month after the due date.
What if you fail to renew on time?
The Intellectual Property Office (IPO) provide a six (6) months grace period after the due date. But, there would be a late payment fee of £24 to pay for each month it is late (on top of the standard renewal fee).
Choosing to renew your patent online means you can register for the email reminder service. Once it's set up, the IPO would send you a reminder by email one month before the next due payment date.
The IPO would send a reminder to you by postal methods if you fail to renew your patent on time. If it happens, they would mail it to the last address that you provided to them.
You can get reminders sent to a new, or different, postal address. In this case, you should make patent renewals by post (details below) or notify the IPO of your new address by letter.
It is not uncommon for granting of patents to occur later than three (3) years and nine (9) months after the filing date. The IPO consider these types of patents as 'late grants'.
If these special conditions apply to you, the first renewal would be due three (3) months after they granted your patent. You would need to make the fee payment by the last day of that particular month.
Note: In some cases, there would be multiple fees to pay with the first anniversary renewal to cover more than one renewal year.
After you apply for a patent, and get it granted, you can renew it for a maximum period of twenty (20) years. This list shows patent anniversary renewal years and current fees.
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Note: You will be able to pay late payment fees when you renew a patent online with the Intellectual Property Office.
You can get help renewing a patent online by visiting a UK PatLib Network (regional Patent Information centre). They can provide users with local access to information on copyright, design rights, patents, and trade marks.
Use Form 12 to pay your patent renewal fee by post (and any additional fees for late payment). Fill in the renewal form and the standard fee sheet and send them both to the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) address.
Intellectual Property Office (IPO)
Telephone: 0300 300 2000
Outside UK: +44 (0)1633 814 000
Textphone: 0300 0200 015
Monday to Friday: 9am to 5pm
Details about call charges.
Patents will lapse if they are not renewed on time or within the six months grace period. Even so, you can reinstate your right within a certain time frame. But, you would need to show that a genuine error caused the lapse of the patent.
It is possible to restore a lapsed patent within nineteen (19) months of the renewal fee date. You would need to make an application for restoration at the IPO (without delay). Otherwise, a third party might gain the right to use your invention.
Note: You can apply for restoration of a patent if yours has ceased because you did not pay your renewal fee in time.
In fact, all patents have a fixed term of twenty years (subject to the payment of renewals). A patent will expire 20 years after its first filing at which time the intellectual property protection ceases to exist.
Note: Once a patent expires it then becomes possible for others to create and to market the invention.
Note: The short video presentation [1:10 seconds] explains how to renew a patent with the Intellectual Property Office (IPO).
How to Renew a GB Patent or European Patent (UK) in the United Kingdom