24 December 2005

Patents: Renewal Fees - Comptroller shows some Christmas Spirit

S.25 (3) of the Patents Act 1977 provides:

"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."

S.25 (4) permits a patent to be restored If the renewal fee and any prescribed additional fees are paid during the period ending with the sixth month after the month in which the prescribed period ends. Should that deadline be missed an application has to be made to the Comptroller for the restoration of the patent.

At the time the patent in Ahmet Mustafa Onder and Mustafa Ilhameddin Ozbay's Patent lapsed on 3 Nov 2002 a patentee had to satisfy the hearing officer that he patent took reasonable care to see that any renewal fee was paid within the prescribed period or that that fee and any prescribed additional fee were paid within the six months immediately following the end of that period. That provision has now been replaced with a requirement that failure to pay the renewal fee within the prescribed period or to pay that fee and any prescribed additional fee within the period ending with
the sixth month after the month in which the prescribed period ended was unintentional.


The question before the hearing officer was whether Mustafa Ilhameddin Ozmay's had taken reasonable care. The answer was that he had. He had previously reminded himself of the need to pay renewal fees by making a note for himself in his electronic organizer. Unfortunately, that was lost on a business trip. His fall back was to ask his family to forward the usual repayment renewal to him in Turkey but, again unfortunately, that reminder never arrived. He then got preoccupied with work and the need to renew slipped was overlooked.

The hearing officer, possibly imbued with the Christmas spirit, concluded that he had made reasonable efforts to pay the fee using three different systems. They all failed through no fault of his own. Accordingly the hearing officer made an order for the restoration of the patent.

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