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Transparency is Critical in a Patent Annuity Payment Service

MaxVal Annuity Payer was launched in 2014 with the goal of providing complete transparency on annuity payment fees, as well as simplified workflow and excellent service.

Pricing transparency is an important issue for customers. Things get complicated when negotiated fees are combined with currency exchange and foreign agent fees. Misunderstandings over fee amounts can easily occur. These misunderstandings can spill over into the courts.

MaxVal Annuity Payer provides comprehensive status updates and pricing transparency on all renewals, using a simple, easy to use web portal.

MaxVal’s simple and transparent flat fee structure (which is highly competitive) aims to take the uncertainty out of budgeting for annuity cost. The flat service fee eliminates the need to keep track of the foreign agent fees, exchange fees, etc., which can substantially add to the total annuity cost.

Proper annuity payment management is critical to any patent operation. Maintaining even a medium sized international patent portfolio can be expensive. MaxVal’s Annuity Payer has helped its customers to simplify their workflow and achieve transparency and cost savings to their annuity management.

Annuity Payer is available as a service administered by MaxVal, or as a SaaS software application and eCommerce style interface that can be used directly by IP Operations staff. Please contact MaxVal more information.

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Why do We Pay Maintenance Fees?

Patent maintenance fees continue to increase. However, once the patent has issued, the USPTO does not provide any ongoing services to the patent holders. Therefore patent holders are correct in wondering why they must pay patent maintenance fees and why the fees are increasing. The requirement of maintenance fees has both economic and public policy reasons. First, maintenance fee revenue is used to fund the operations and expenses of the USPTO such as the examination of new patents. Second, maintenance fees allow for the promotion of progress of science and useful arts.

Funding the USPTO

The net cost of the USPTO program in 2014 was $2.73 billion. This was a 7.6% increase from the 2013 program costs. Additionally, the costs for the Patent business of the USPTO have increased 38.5% since 2010.  To combat this growing expense sheet, the USPTO must raise funding.

Maintenance fees are a big part of the USPTO revenue. Maintenance fees accounted for 41.4% of the USPTO’s $3.02 billion revenue in 2014.  The revenue generated from maintenance fees has increased by 49% from 2013 to 2014. This increase was preceded by a 20% increase in maintenance fee revenue from 2012 to 2013.Thanks in large part to the maintenance fees, the USPTO was able to have a net income of $290 million.

It is clear that without the maintenance fees the USPTO would be operating at a loss. The cost of collecting maintenance fees is low, whereas the USPTO is incurring most of their costs in the patent application examination process.

Foster Progress of Science and Useful Arts

This is unequivocally the goal of patent law as stated in the Constitution and maintenance fees have a strong impact in achieving this goal. The underlying public policy of collecting maintenance fees is to make technology available to the public as soon as possible.

Escalating maintenance fees force patent owners to decide if the patent warrants higher future maintenance fees. If a patent holder decides that a patent does not warrant the next maintenance fee, then the patent will be abandoned which frees the patent to the public.  Not only does this allow the public to gain free access to the patented invention but it also prevents patent holders from squatting on a patent to a certain extent. The statistics show that maintenance fees have continued to be a deterrent to squatting on unused patents.

In 2014, 91.8% of patents were renewed at their First Stage. The number of renewed patents dropped to 78.8% for the Second Stage. Furthermore, only 50.7% of patents were renewed at the Third Stage.  The First, Second, and Third Stage refer to the maintenance fee deadlines in the 3.5, 7.5, and 11.5 years of the patent term. These patent renewal rates have remained comparable and without much fluctuation since 2010.

It is evident  that many patent owners cannot justify paying the 3rd maintenance fee for a patent. Increasing the maintenance costs would only (which are discounted by 50% for small entities) further this goal of promoting progress of science since it forces patent holders to make a rational decision in regards to their patent.

Written by: Bharath Venkat, J.D.


Patent Annuity Payment Made Simple with MaxVal’s Annuity Payer

Annuity_payer_logoMaxVal Group, a Silicon Valley based patent portfolio management company launches Annuity Payer™ at http://www.annuitypayer.com, an annuity payment and management solution. Combining more than a decade of patent management experience with an intuitive annuity management engine built from the ground up, MaxVal’s Annuity Payer™ provides a reliable and cost-effective annuity payment and management solution.

Annuities must be paid to patent offices to keep a patent in force or an application active. With the growing internationalization of many patent portfolios, managing annuity payments across jurisdictions with different rules, fees, and due dates can be burdensome. Proper management, however, is critical since late or missed payment may lead to expensive surcharges or even abandonment of patents.

Leveraging MaxVal’s over a decade of patent management experience, in-depth understanding of patent operations and client needs, MaxVal is delighted to launch Annuity Payer™ to provide the most reliable, intuitive, and cost-effective patent annuity payment and management solution available to patent counsel and patent portfolio managers.

Combining experienced patent annuity specialists, a vast international network of agents, a powerful patent annuity management engine and an intuitive user-interface built from the ground up, Annuity Payer™ offers full annuity management service or ecommerce inspired “shopping” option for do-it-yourself management of patent annuity payments.

Key features

  • Experienced annuity specialists with up-to-date knowledge of patent annuity rules
  • An international network of agents covering all major jurisdictions
  • Simple patent portfolio upload to http://www.annuitypayer.com
  • Instant cost estimate through Patent Annuity Estimator™
  • Dashboard providing a snapshot of projected budget, upcoming, in-progress, and completed renewals
  • Intuitive interface to provide annuity instructions
  • Competitive service fee

About MaxVal

MaxVal Group is a Silicon Valley based patent portfolio management company with over a decade of patent management experience servicing the patent industry.  MaxVal provides cost-effective and professional services including patent search and analytics, IDS management, paralegal services and invention capture solutions.

For more information, please email us at info@annuitypayer.com (or) call us on 1-650-472-0644