FAQ of the Week: Patent Expirations

patent law expirations

Question: My patent is expiring in 3 years.  Is there any way to extend the coverage?

Answer: Not currently. Prior to 1995, patents could be extended indefinitely by filing continuations.  But since that cutoff, there is no way to extend patents.  It is possible to file applications on improvements to your patented technology, but of course filing on the improvements would have current filing dates.  So there would be lots and lots of prior art you would have to contend with, and your own patent would be used against you.  If you have a licensing opportunity for the remainder of the patent term, you should seriously consider taking, even though it might not bring anywhere near the revenue that you want.

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