Maintenance Fee Scams

Information for issued patents is a matter of public record. This information is often mined by deceptive individuals to swindle money from unsuspecting patent owners. For years unscrupulous actors have mailed or transmitted letters and emails regarding patent maintenance fees. Many patent owners have received “bills” that, at first glance appear to be “official”, but are not actually from the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). These communications usually contain warnings about the expiration of patents for failure to pay the maintenance fees of the patent. The communications often sound urgent, in hopes that recipients will be intimidated into paying the fees listed, which frequently include the cost to maintain the patent as well as a substantial “service charge”.

Similar schemes are often carried out in regard to trademark renewals. 

The patent maintenance fees and trademark renewals may be paid online through the USPTO. However, this requires the patent or trademark owner to schedule and mind strict deadlines stretching years in advance. Doing it yourself is like keeping all your photos on one phone without a backup. An illness, vacation or other life interruption could result in loss of your patent rights.

To alleviate that stress, we recommend that our clients take advantage of Citadel Patent Law’s tracking and reminder service to guard against missing fees which may inactivate your valuable patent rights. Citadel Patent Law will docket reminders in our automated system, prompt you when fees are coming up and process the fee payment for you.  

You can contact Citadel Patent Law at 253-682-0246 for assistance.




Posted in Industry News.