Patents for Chemicals, Pharmaceuticals, and Biotechnology: Fundamentals of Global Law, Practice, and Strategy

By Philip W. Grubb | Go to book overview

8
MAINTAINING A PATENT IN FORCE AND
EXTENDING THE PATENT TERM

Thou shalt not kill, but needst not strive
Officiously to keep alive.
Arthur Hugh Clough; The Latest Decalogue

Patent Term140
Renewal Fees141
Extension of Term144
Effect of Changes in Patent Term144
Extensions to Compensate for Regulatory Delays145
USA: The Hatch/Waxman Act146
Japan: Patent Term Extensions148
Europe: Supplemental Protection Certificates148
Other Countries150
Working Requirements150
Licences of Right152

Patent Term

Finally, after periods of time ranging from a few months to several years from the filing dates, the applicant receives granted patents in the countries in which he applied. These patents do not go on indefinitely, but, subject to any extension provisions, have a fixed legal term which in the majority of countries is now the 20 years from filing which is mandated in the TRIPs agreement.1 Previously, the patent term in the USA and in Canada was 17 years from the date of grant, but this was changed in Canada for patents filed after 1 October 1989, and in the USA by the Uruguay Round Amendments Act (URAA) in 1995, so that for US patents and applications filed before 8 June 1995 the term is 20 years from filing or 17 years from grant, whichever is the longer, while for patents granted on applications filed after that date the term is 20 years from the first US filing date.2 This means that if a continuation or continuation-in-part application is filed, the 20-year term does not run from the filing date of that application but from that of the parent application. It used to be that refiling an application, by delaying grant, extended the patent term, but this is no longer the case.

____________________
1
Art. 33, TRIPs.
2
35 USC 154(a)(2).

-140-

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