Valuation analysts and IP managers solving for the expiration date of a patent have been given some help by the United States Patent and Trademark Office, USPTO, which announced the development and release to the public of a new calculator that estimates the expiration date of a utility, plant or design patent.
The term of a patent is important in that it provides the specified period for infringement: meaning, in general, only for the term of a patent, whoever without authority makes, uses, offers to sell or sells the patented invention within the United States, or imports into the United States the patented invention, is an infringer of the patent and may be subject to prosecution.
The calculator is for the United States only, and inputs are limited to data from the USPTO. There are other influencers of patent terms. The FDA’s Orange Book for Approved Drug Products with Therapeutic Equivalence Evaluations includes patent expiration dates, some of which may include periods of exclusivity administered by the FDA that add onto patent term; additional patent term may be privately granted by an Act of Congress; and, court decisions may establish new or different patent expiration dates.
USPTO issued this disclaimer: “The calculator provides a best estimate of a patent’s expiration date, based on a comprehensive list of factors than can be found in USPTO records. Before relying on an expiration date, individuals should always carefully inspect all relevant documents available through the USPTO, court records and elsewhere, and consult with an attorney.”