What is a Patent Annuity or Patent Maintenance Fee?
Patent annuities are payments that are made to national or regional patent offices to maintain the validity of patents or patent applications. Most patent offices require a payment every year (an “annuity”) to maintain a patent or patent application. Making these payments is critical, as failure to pay patent annuities will result in the abandonment of a patent or patent application. Some foreign patent offices require the involvement of local agents to make payments.
Patent Annuity Service Providers
Most patent owners elect to use the services of a patent annuity service provider to manage patent annuities on their behalf. The time, complexity, and risk of missing deadlines makes internally managing patent annuities impractical for most clients. Generally, service providers will contract with patent owners to provide such services in return for a fixed fee, and they will pass on the costs of making payments.
Some clients will rely on a law firm, often the firm that wrote or is prosecuting their patents, to manage annuity payments. However, in most instances, law firms simply contract with a patent annuity service provider to provide this service on behalf of their clients. Clients may not be aware of this arrangement.
Like any bill, the service provider should give the customer a detailed breakdown of charges. Without such a breakdown, it is difficult for a customer to tell exactly what they are paying for or if they are being overcharged. Such breakdowns are especially important with patent annuities because the charges and requirements vary from country to country and fluctuate along with foreign exchange rates.
The Pending Lawsuit:
Brown, Neri, Smith & Khan, LLP and Faruqi & Faruqi, LLP, have filed a lawsuit in the Northern District of California alleging that CPA Global Limited (CPA) systematically overcharges its clients for providing international patent renewal services. The lawsuit alleges that CPA overcharged its clients by inflating or inventing fees for foreign renewals, and that CPA hides these overcharges with opaque billing practices.
Your Legal Rights:
We can review your invoices from any patent annuity service provider and determine whether you have been overcharged without any obligation to you.
If you would like to obtain additional information about this case or would like to discuss your legal rights contact us by calling Adam Gonnelli at 212.983.9330 or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Nothing on this site is intended to be or should be relied on as legal advice, and nothing on this site should be construed as forming an attorney-client relationship.
Faruqi & Faruqi, LLP
685 Third Avenue 26th Floor
New York, NY 10017
Tel: (212) 983-9330
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