How to manage your patents
Renewing your patent
A patent gives you monopoly rights on your invention. In order to retain these rights, you must renew your patent regularly. You can renew your patent online or by post with the UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO).
When to renew your patent
You must renew your patent on the fourth anniversary of when you filed for it. You then need to renew every year near the 'due date' - the last day of the month in which you first filed.
You can renew up to three months before, or within one month after, the due date to avoid late payment fees. You can renew up to six months after the due date but you'll have to pay £24 on top of the renewal fee for each extra month.
UK patent renewal fees
In order to renew your patent, you will need to pay the correct fee to the IPO. You can pay by cheque, credit or debit card, or bank transfer. The amount you pay goes up every year of the patent's life:
When you renew your patent online, you can ask the IPO to email you a reminder a month before the next due date. If you don't renew your patent on time, the IPO will send you a reminder by post. They'll use the last address you provided. If you want it to be sent to a new or different postal address, you should write to the IPO or renew by post.
Late grants and patent renewals
If your patent was granted later than three years and nine months after the filing date, it is considered a 'late grant' and special conditions apply.
In this case, your first renewal is due three months after your patent was granted. You'll need to pay the fee by the last day of that month. You may also have to pay multiple fees that cover more than one renewal year when you pay your first renewal fee.
Find more information on renewing your patent with the IPO.
The IPO reduces its annual renewal fees to half the usual cost if your patent is endorsed licence of right, ie if you agree to license your patent to anyone who asks. However, if you don't pay your renewal fee in time, full late payment fees will apply.
How to renew an expired patent
If you don't pay your renewal fee on time or within the six months grace period for late payment, your patent right will lapse.
It is possible to reinstate your right within a certain period, but you will have to prove that a genuine error has caused the lapse of the patent.
You can apply to restore a lapsed patent within 19 months from the date on which you were due to pay the renewal fee. You should make an application for restoration at the IPO as soon as possible to minimise the risk of a third party gaining the right to use your invention. Find out how to apply for restoration of a patent.
Can you renew a patent after 20 years?
A patent has a term of 20 years (subject to renewal) from the date of its first filing. Once these 20 twenty years are over, a patent will expire and the protection it offers will cease to exist. This makes it possible for others to create and market your invention.