maintenance fee.

1. A periodic payment required to maintain a privilege, such as a license.

2. A charge for keeping an improvement in working condition or a residential property in habitable condition. ¡ª Also termed maintenance assessment.

3. A fee charged for reinvesting earnings and dividends in mutual funds.

4. Patents. The periodic charge that a patentee must pay the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in order to keep the patent in force. ? U.S. maintenance fees are due 3 1/2, 7, and 11 1/2 years from the date the patent is issued. [Cases: Patents 103. C.J.S. Patents ¡ì 144.]

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Carl, Chinese legal translator, specializes in translating legal documents pertaining to complex business disputes.