Section 25

Term of patent

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25.-(1) A patent granted under this Act shall be treated for the purposes of the following provisions of this Act as having been granted, and shall take effect, on the date on which notice of its grant is published in the journal and, subject to subsection (3) below, shall continue in force until the end of the period of 20 years beginning with the date of filing the application for the patent or with such other date as may be prescribed.

(2) A rule prescribing any such other date under this section shall not be made unless a draft of the rule has been laid before, and approved by resolution of, each House of Parliament.

(3) Where any renewal fee in respect of a patent is not paid by the end of the period prescribed for payment (the "prescribed period") the patent shall cease to have effect at the end of such day, in the final month of that period, as may be prescribed. [Rules 37 and 38]

(4) If during the period ending with the sixth month after the month in which the prescribed period ends the renewal fee and any prescribed additional fee are paid, the patent shall be treated for the purposes of this Act as if it had never expired, and accordingly -

  • (a) anything done under or in relation to it during that further period shall be valid;
  • (b) an act which would constitute an infringement of it if it had not expired shall constitute such an infringement; and
  • (c) an act which would constitute the use of the patented invention for the services of the Crown if the patent had not expired shall constitute that use.

(5) Rules [Rule 39] shall include provision requiring the comptroller to notify the registered proprietor of a patent that a renewal fee has not been received from him in the Patent Office before the end of the prescribed period and before the framing of the notification.

Notes:
s25(4) period runs for six full months after the month in which the payment becomes due, to be in line with other offices (e.g. EPO).
A joint proprietor not responsible for paying renewals may want to file a caveat to check that the patent does not lapse inadvertently.
Note application of SPCs - up to extra 5 years of protection (maximum 15 years from first market approval within the EEA - note that Switzerland counts for market approval due to agreement with Liechtenstein).

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