Decades Of Experience In Science, Business And Intellectual Property Law

My patent is about to expire. Can I renew it?

On Behalf of | Mar 5, 2024 | PATENTS - Patents

When you have worked hard and invented something, you want to protect it from abuse or unlawful use. For this to happen, you need to patent your creation. By law, however, a patent will only protect your intellectual property rights for a specified period.

Because patents have time limits, it’s not uncommon to want to know what happens when your patent’s life runs out. Can you renew it?

Understanding why patents expire

A patent is a type of protection that gives you the legal right to prevent someone from re-creating, using or generating an income from your creation for a specific number of years (15 years for design patents and 20 years for utility patents) without your approval. The primary purpose of a patent is to encourage and reward ingenuity.

Allowing a patent to be indefinite would prevent others from building on and improving an existing invention. It would also undermine the concept of free trade. It’s for these reasons the law limits the duration of patents’ validity. So, what options do you have when your patent expires?

Legally, you cannot renew an expired patent. However, you can maintain it by paying a maintenance fee. This fee is paid during your patent’s lifecycle. If you fail to pay, your patent could expire earlier than its designated period. Of course, this only applies to utility patents as design patents do not require any maintenance fees.

You can also extend your rights to a patent by filing for improvements and modifications.

Protecting your interests

Unfortunately, you cannot renew an expired patent. However, you can maintain and prolong its validity period. Find out how proper legal counsel can help you maintain your patent and safeguard your invention.