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Once you file your patent, including all required fees for doing so, you should still budget more money for the maintenance of your patent. If you have received a patent by now, you probably realize that it is not an inexpensive venture. After all, the government has allowed you to carve out a technology you developed or a unique product invention for exclusive use and sale. Hopefully, as your invention becomes more successful, you'll be able to budget enough money for a patent maintenance fee. You simply must submit these fees or your patent can expire.
If you forget to make a car payment, the bank may forgive you but the US Patent and Trademark Office likely will not--even if you can prove your delay was unavoidable or unintentional. Some types of patents do not require fees while others do. So, always know ahead of time what your obligations will be and check with a few sources to make sure you have the right information. A grace period may exist in which you can pay a fee late but a surcharge will be attached. Be assured, you have plenty of warning to pay a maintenance fee so--if your budget is tight--you'll have time to get the money together. Maintenance fees are due in intervals, usually at three, seven and 11 years. You are responsible for knowing these facts. You may be able to pay your maintenance fee electronically.
Although there is a petition you can file if the patent office declares your patent expired due to lack of fee payment, any good patent invention attorney will tell you to never get yourself in this situation as it is quite a gamble with your hard-earned invention.