Natick, MA asked in Patents (Intellectual Property) for Massachusetts

Q: Is a patent definitely expired if it says Applied 2000 & says for 14 years?

Do I need to search elsewhere for possible extensions?

1 Lawyer Answer
Kevin E. Flynn
Kevin E. Flynn
PREMIUM
Answered
  • Patents Lawyer
  • Chapel Hill, NC

A: Since you say 14 years, I am presuming you are looking at a design patent. While the term is longer today, for many years the term of a design patent was 14 years FROM THE ISSUE DATE. So I am concerned that you are looking at the wrong date. You need to look at the issue date, not the application date.

Design patents are not eligible for patent term adjustment (PTA) so no need to check that.

Unlike copyrights and trademarks there is not a mechanism for extension of a design patent.

If you want to be extra careful, you can search for patent applications assigned to that company that owned the design patent you care about by searching for assignee at https://assignment.uspto.gov/patent/index.html#/patent/search .

As design patent coverage is very thin, they very well may have some newer designs that are covered and you need to be sure that you do not stumble into those. For more information about design patents -- see https://www.flynniplaw.com/services/legal-services/united-states-design-patents .

You may want to do some additional searching using tips from my slide set on searching -- http://bit.ly/Patent_Searching. While it is a long shot, you may want to check to see if there is a continuation patent via Public PAIR. Continuation applications are fairly unusual for design patents and I would expect a terminal disclaimer (tying the end of the second patent to the end of the first patent) but since you are being careful, you should check this too.

I hope this helps.

Kevin E Flynn

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