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As the owner of a patent application or a granted patent, it is your responsibility to maintain your intellectual property. For example, this includes: 

  • paying renewal fees for the lifetime of the patent; 
  • ensuring your patent details are up to date; and 
  • being mindful of any infringement of your patent. 

If you do not pay these renewal fees, the patent will lapse. This article sets out four tips to help you maintain your New Zealand patent application or granted patent.

1. Paying Patent Renewal Fees

As a patentee, you must pay renewal fees to the Intellectual Property Office of New Zealand (IPONZ) at certain times throughout the lifetime of your patent to ensure that it remains in force. These renewal fees vary depending on how many years have passed since the official filing date of your complete application.

Renewal fees are due from the fourth anniversary of the filing date of your complete patent. These renewal fees are due annually on or before the anniversary of the filing date. The below table sets out the current annual renewal fees for a New Zealand patent.

Patent RenewalsFee (paid online)
4th to 9th anniversaries$200
10th to 14th anniversaries$450
15th to 19th anniversaries$1000

The first renewal fee is due on the fourth anniversary of the filing date of your complete application. This is regardless of whether the patent has been granted yet. 

For example, if you filed a standard patent application on 22 August 2020, your first renewal fee would be due on 22 August 2024. 

After the fourth anniversary fee is due, renewal fees are due at each anniversary of the filing date thereafter, until the patent expires at twenty years.

The simplest way to pay your annual renewal fee is through IPONZ’s online service portal. Once you pay the fee, your renewal is effective immediately. 

You can pay your renewal fee as early as three months before it is due. However, if you do not pay your renewal fee by the due date, you will still be able to make a late payment for the next six months during the grace period. Unfortunately, this will incur an additional late fee of $100 per month. 

What Happens if I Do Not Pay the Renewal Fee?

If you fail to pay the renewal fee and any late fees by the end of this six month grace period, your patent or patent application will be considered lapsed or abandoned, respectively. If your patent application or grated patent becomes abandoned or lapses respectively, it is no longer valid. 

However, it may be possible to restore your patent application or granted patent if it has been abandoned or lapsed. You can apply for the patent to be restored through the IPONZ online service portal. To do so, you must provide evidence in the form of a statutory declaration that:

  • the failure to pay the renewal fee was unintentional;
  • the failure to pay the renewal fee was due to exceptional circumstances beyond your control; 
  • there was no undue delay in making the application for restoration. 

It must be noted that financial hardship is rarely considered an exceptional circumstance to warrant restoration.

2. Ensure Your Patent Details Are Up to Date

It is crucial to keep your patent details up to date to ensure that your patent remains valid and you do not miss any important information. You should contact the Intellectual Property Office of New Zealand if, for example, there are changes to the:

  • owner name, address or contact details;
  • inventor name, address or contact details;
  • Agent (Patent Attorney);
  • ownership of the patent; or
  • licensing of the patent. 

The simplest way to change or update your details is to submit a request through the IPONZ online service portal.

3. Act Promptly if You Suspect Patent Infringement

The Intellectual Property Office of New Zealand is not responsible for monitoring potential infringement of your patent. As the patentee, it is your right and responsibility to take action if you believe someone is infringing your patent. In the first instance, it is crucial to contact your patent attorney to discuss taking action against those who infringe your intellectual property rights. 

4. Consider Your International Patents 

If you have a patent application or granted patent in another country, then you must maintain this as well. Like New Zealand, you will need to pay renewal fees for each patent application and each granted patent in each country. However, the fees and due dates for these payments will be different in each country. 

It is important to note that in some countries, renewal fees are only payable after the patent has been granted, while in other countries, such as New Zealand, fees are payable while the patent application is still pending, as well as after the patent has been granted.

Key Takeaways

If you have successfully obtained a patent in New Zealand, or anywhere else in the world, it is now your responsibility to maintain it. You should do this by:

  • ensuring you pay all renewal fees which are due;
  • keeping your patent details up to date; and 
  • keeping an eye out for any potential infringement of your patent so that you can take appropriate action against an infringer. 

If you do not properly maintain your patent, you run the risk of unintentionally losing it. If you have any questions or need assistance with managing your patent, contact LegalVision’s intellectual property lawyers on 0800 005 570 or fill out the form on this page.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a patent?

A patent gives you protection and control over an invention. It is a legally enforceable intellectual property right.

How do I apply for patent protection?

You can make an application to register your patent directly through IPONZ online. The patent process is fairly complex, and we recommend that you speak to a patent lawyer before you file a patent application.

When do I need to pay patent renewal fees?

Renewal fees are due from the fourth anniversary of the filing date of your complete patent. These renewal fees are due annually on or before the anniversary of the filing date.

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