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Maintaining and amending patents: What you need to know

Securing your patent isn't enough - you must regularly maintain and amend it too.

If you have managed to secure a patent for your business, you have given yourself a significant advantage over competitors – you will be free to use your device or business process without fear of someone else misusing your intellectual property.

However, securing the patent is only half the battle. If you want to get the best out of your patent protection, you need to make sure that you maintain those rights over time. You also need to make sure that any amendments to your legal protection are done properly. So what do you need to know about maintaining and amending your patent?

Protecting your business' intellectual property with a patent ensures your competitors can't use it to their advantage.
Protecting your business' intellectual property with a patent ensures your competitors can't use it to their advantage.

Maintaining your level of protection

Only by effectively maintaining your patent protection can you gain the full value from your intellectual property.

The most important part of managing your patent is paying the annual renewal fees to IP Australia. The cost varies depending on the kind of patent you have, the amount of time it has been active for and whether you renew your application online. As soon as your renewal period expires, you patent protection expires too. If this happens, you could lose the exclusive rights to your intellectual property.

It is also vital to recognise that you are in sole charge of enforcing your patent protection and considering your international IP rights. This requires a clear understanding of the complex law involved, so you may consider the assistance of a patent attorney.

Amending your patent

There are several reasons you would need to amend you patent – your business strategy may have changed, or you may want a different kind of protection. Other reasons include:

  • Adding new or updated information.
  • Amending your personal details to keep them up to date i.e. a change of name, business address or ownership.
  • Changing your application in response to an adverse examination report.
Keeping your patent protected relies on updating your personal details when you need to.
Amending the administrative details on your patent protection is vital in order to keep it valid.

Adding new information ensures your patent application offers you up-to-date protection in the areas you need it. It can cover something as minor as your realisation of an error in your application to wanting to broaden the scope of your protection to cover changes you have made to your intellectual property.

It is very important you keep your personal information updated, especially if you are granting patent license to another party. When you are assigning this new patent, you must provide signatures from all relevant ownership parties to confirm this change's legality.

An adverse examination report is filed if a person or entity who has challenged your patent is successful. If this happens, you will need to change your patent per the terms decided by the judge.

As you can see, even a simple guide to maintaining and amending patents can become complex quickly. It is often best to seek the legal guidance of a intellectual property lawyer, to be sure your patent is fully protected. Contact Alder IP today for information.