Lapsed patents and restoration
Lapsed patents and restoration

The following IP guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Lapsed patents and restoration
  • How to restore a patent
  • Time limits and publication
  • What must be filed to obtain restoration?
  • Effect of restoration
  • Status of infringements

Patents do not automatically last for 20 years. They need to be maintained. This Practice Note explains how patents might lapse and how they can be restored onto the register under the Patents Act 1977 (PA 1977).

Renewal fees must be paid on patents, beginning with the fourth anniversary of the patent's filing date, and at prescribed intervals after that. If the date for paying a renewal fee is missed, there is a six months period of grace after that date, in which to rectify the situation by paying the renewal fee and any other fee that the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) requires.

In the first month of the grace period, no late fee is required, but a late fee will be charged for each of the months following that.

If the owner deliberately wants to surrender a patent for some reason as it has no further need for it, it should do so in accordance with the procedure under PA 1977, s 29, and not do so by simply allowing it to lapse by not paying the necessary fees.

How to restore a patent

The patent proprietor, or anyone who would have been entitled to own the patent, or any joint owner as long as it has leave from the comptroller to apply without joining the other owners, can apply to the