We are often asked whether or not government fees can be refunded after they have been paid to the Patent Office. In fact, there are some instances where the Canadian Patent Office will provide a refund for the payment of a fee. For example, if you file a Canadian patent application and then wish to withdraw it, you can obtain a refund for the fee paid upon filing, less $25. Time is of the essence however, because the fee will only be refunded if an application number has not yet been assigned. If you accidentally file the same patent application twice (apparently this happens!) you can ask for a refund for half the filing fee paid for one of the two applications after a request for its withdrawal is submitted. A final fee paid after allowance of a patent application will be refunded in certain circumstances as well. However, the Patent Office is notably less lenient with regard to the overpayment of fees based on entity status. As many clients will know, government fees are reduced if a patent applicant is a small entity (less than 50 employees, with exceptions). However, if fees are paid based on large entity status, when in fact the Applicant is a small entity, they are not refunded by the Patent Office. Also, perhaps not surprisingly, no refund will be provided by the Patent Office if the amount of the refund is less than $1.
Please note that the above is simply a brief overview of some of the refunds that are available to a patent applicant and should not be taken as legal advice. If you have specific questions regarding whether a refund is available our team of experts would be happy to provide a recommendation based on the circumstances at hand. For the interested reader, more details regarding the refund of official fees for patents and patent applications can be found in section 4 of the Patent Rules. The link to Patent Rules is provided below.