Scott Locke’s article entitled “Is It Time to Replace the U.S. Patent Maintenance Fee System with Annuities?” has been published by IDEA: The Law Review of the Franklin Pierce Center for Intellectual Property. In the article, Scott analyzes and discusses the issues associated with the U.S. patent system’s current framework for paying maintenance fees that owners of patents must pay to keep their patents in force. Access the full article by following the “Read More” link below.

Under the current U.S. patent system, an owner of a utility patent must pay maintenance fees at three intervals if the patent is to remain in force for its maximum term. The requirement of the payment of fees to keep a patent in force is not unique to the U.S., but unlike in most other jurisdictions, where fees are due annually, in the U.S. they are due 3 ½, 7 ½, and 11 ½ years after the patent issues. The schedule for the payment of US maintenance fees is inefficient for both patent holders and the public, and it is a holdover from an era when patents expired 17 years after issuance as opposed to the current system in which they expire 20 years from their non-provisional priority date. In view of the problems associated with the current framework for paying maintenance fees, in Scott’s most recent article, he asks: “Is It Time to Replace the U.S. Patent Maintenance Fee System with Annuities?”, 63 IDEA 466 (2023)

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IS IT TIME TO REPLACE THE U.S. PATENT MAINTENANCE FEE SYSTEM WITH ANNUITIES?