What happens when a patent application or patent goes abandoned? What can be done to revive the application or the patent?

If a reply/response to an office action is not filed before the deadline or if an issue fee is not paid, your patent application could go abandoned, which means your patent application status is no longer pending. If the delay in reply by applicant or patent owner was unintentional, a petition may be filed to revive an abandoned application.  The Petition requires the following: (a) a reply to the outstanding office action; (b) the petition fee; (c) a terminal disclaimer; and (d) a statement that the delay in responding the office action was unintentional.

Your patent will also go abandoned if you do not pay your maintenance fees and your patent will expire. Payment of any maintenance fee due on a patent after expiration of the patent if, upon petition, the delay in payment of the maintenance fee is shown to have been unintentional may be accepted by the Director.  Any petition to accept an unintentionally delayed payment requires the following: (a) the required maintenance fee; (b) the petition fee; and (c) a statement that the delay in payment was unintentional.  Additional information with this statement may be required by the Director.  The patent shall be considered as not having expired if the Director accepts payment of the delayed maintenance fee, upon petition. Reconsideration of a decision refusing to accept a delayed maintenance fee may be obtained by filing a petition for reconsideration.  This petition must be filed within two months of the decision or such other time as set in the decision refusing to accept the delayed payment of the maintenance fee.  If delayed payment of the maintenance fee is not accepted, the maintenance fee will be refunded following the decision on the petition for reconsideration, or after the expiration of the time for filing such a petition for reconsideration, if a petition is not filed.  After a decision is made on the petition for reconsideration, no further reconsideration or review of the petition will be done by the Director of the Office.

A patent application may be expressly abandoned by filing a written statement of abandonment identifying the application in the United States Patent Office. Express abandonment of the application may not be recognized by the Office before the date of issue or publication unless it is actually received by appropriate officials in time to act.  The written statement must be signed by an authorized party.

Take careful consideration into whether you would like to hire an attorney to help you with your patent.  Not only will they be able to help you with preparing the patent application itself but they will also help you keep track of the important deadlines so that your patent does not go abandoned or expire.

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