Maintenence Fee Scams
After your patent issues, your address information will become part of the public record. Many services scrape the Patent Office records in an effort to send soliciting emails or paper mailings that look official. This is the text from a mailing sent to one of our clients:
The USPTO’s maintenance fee range from $800 to $3,700, depending on your entity status and payment year. You do not need to pay this amount now as your documentation package will inform you as to which fee applies to your situation. So long as you respond by the deadline and immediately file the documents you receive, you should not be required to pay any late surcharge fee. If you do not pay the maintenance fee and file the documents at the USPTO in a timely manner, you could be liable for a surcharge/late fee of $80.00. If you then do not file within the surcharge period and pay the late fee, you will lose your patent and your rights to its exclusive use. If you have already renewed your patent prior to this alert, please disregard this notice.
While this looks official, and is accurate as far as when the fees need to be paid, you certainly do not need to use an outside service to pay these
patent maintenance fees
This is something we can do for you, or you can simply pay them yourselves. The invoice attached with the solicitation above was for $250. This seems to be only to provide notice down the road when the fees would be due. Presumably they would charge more to arrange for payment of the fees.
The USPTO warns about such scams
So these types of solicitations can be ignored. It is much better to deal with your longstanding and trusted patent attorney than some off the wall service that is sending unsolicited messages.
Don't confuse Patent Maintenence Fees with Patent Filing Fees and Patent Extensions.
If you would like us to analyze your particular situation, call us to set up an appointment to discuss starting an engagement. Please do not send confidential information prior to negotiating an engagement.