A Patent is a government license that gives the holder the exclusive right to a process, design or new invention, for a designated period of time. By granting the right to produce a new product without fear of competition, patents provide an incentive for companies or individuals to continue developing innovative new products or services. Patents provide inventors with exclusive rights to make, sell and use their invention processes. Article 1, section 8 of the U.S.Constitution and aim to promote scientific progress by granting rights to inventors for a period of time. The Patent and Trademark Office, administer patent in the United States. Most of the patents continue till 20 years and lapse after that if they are not renewed. If your patent lapses then you have limited period of time to renew it.
What is Patent?
A patent is a limited legal monopoly granted to an individual or firm to make, use, and sell its invention, and to exclude others from doing so. An invention is patentable if it is novel, useful, and non-obvious. To receive a patent, a patent application must disclose all details of the invention so that others can use it to further advance the technology with new inventions.
Patentable items fall under four classes
(1) The machine: apparatus or device with interrelated parts that work together to perform the invention’s designed or intended functions,
(2) Manufacturer: all manufactured or fabricated items, (3) Process: chemical, mechanical, electrical or
(3) Process: chemical, mechanical, electrical or other process that produces a chemical or physical change in the condition or character of an item, and (4) Composition of
(4) The composition of the matter: chemical compounds or mixtures having properties different from their constituent ingredients.
Expiry Time of patent
For an application filed on or after June 8, 1995, utility and plant patent lasts for 20 years, they automatically expire at the end of that period. Design patents last for 14 years from the date of issue. Once your patent expires, your invention or process is no longer protected. This means that any organization or individual can sell or use it freely without your permission.
Lapse due to Non-Payment of Maintenance fee
The inventor or patent owner must pay the maintenance fee to the USPTO, to avoid having a utility or plant patent lapse. Fees are due after three years, seven years and 11 years from the date when the patent is first granted. The USPTO gives patent owner a grace period of six months following the date when the fees are due to make a late payment, provided they pay a surcharge. You do not have to pay a maintenance fee for the design patents.
Reviving a Patent
If your patent has expired due to non- reviving of the maintenance fee, you may apply to revive it, provided you apply within two years, from the end of six months grace period. Your application for revival should be on the grounds that the non-payment was either unintentional or unavoidable.You must mention in the petition that you took reasonable steps to ensure that the payment was made on time and that you filed the petition promptly once you realised that it wasn’t paid.