The USPTO release a patent term calculator. As its name suggest, the patent term calculator determines when a patent will expire. The calculator is in the form of an Excel spreadsheet that is available for .
The calculation is surprisingly complicated; the revised final rules in the federal register are available for viewing. The term can be extended for the Office's delays: for example, when the USPTO takes longer than fourteen (14) months to examine initially an application. The extension can be reduced when the applicant extends a deadline.
The patent term calculator should be used in several situations:
- When a patent issues, the notice of allowance will include a calculation of the extension. Applicant's should confirm the USPTO's calculation so they can petition if an error is found;
- When calculating a license, the length of the patent most likely will affect the price of the license because the length of the license period is changed; and
- When a competitor is timing its entry into a market and the competitor does not want to commit an act of infringement before the patent has expired.
What Applicants should remember:
- Applicants may petition the USPTO if a mistake in the USPTO's term extension calculation is discovered; and
- Extensions of time when responding reduce the patent-term extension on a day-for-day basis.