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A question ....

Duncan Bucknell is posing an interesting question on his IP Thinktank blog. Does anyone out there have an answer?

I was speaking to a friend the other day about freedom to operate clearances and she raised an incredibly good point:

Why don't patent specifications quote the patent's expiry date on their front cover? This is one of the most important facts about a patent, yet no patent office publishes this on the document.

Why not?

• If the patent office is concerned about getting it wrong, then there's an even bigger issue at stake;

• If it’s because the expiry date is simple to work out - then that's probably not so simple. Many North American patents are still under the old 17 years from grant system, and Divisionals / Continuations etc take their term from the date of filing the original parent - which is not always evident from the specification (and nor is the priority date always available on the front page).

The system would be even better if any term adjustments were also noted, for example by republishing the front page if an extension of term is granted, etc.

This, I'm sure would increase certainty about patent rights for the general community.

Joff Wild
IAM Magazine
26 May 2008

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RE: A question ....

Just posted the answer at




Erin-Michael Gill, QBase Technologies on 27 May 2008

RE: A question ....

Erin-Michael, thanks for your valuable contribution - I don't think that that's the answer, with respect.

I think that's the easy way out for patent offices and too simplistic.

Why can't they republish the front page if the term is extended and have a simple disclaimer about withdrawal / lapse, etc.?



Duncan Bucknell, Duncan Bucknell Company on 27 May 2008

RE: A question ....

Well if the PTO did all the work how would I pay for my law education?

I agree with Erin-Michael that it is simply too complicated. There are so many exceptions that the published expiration date would be all but worthless because it could not be trusted.

Scott Waite, Pendrell Technologies LLC on 28 May 2008

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