Patent Term Adjustment (PTA)

Oct 13, 2022

Are you entitled to patent term adjustment? For patents granted after June 8, 1995, the patent clock begins to run starting the day of the effective filing date. However, while patent applicants can ensure maximum lifespan of their patents by avoiding delays in prosecution, there are times when delays are out of their hands.

To remedy any patent delays caused by the United States Patent and Trademark Office, Congress created a system of patent term adjustment (PTA). This is a process in which a patent applicant can request additional time to the lifespan of the patent from the USPTO for delays that occur through no fault of their own. Here’s what you need to know about PTA.


Determine When Your Patent Expires

There are a few different factors that will influence how long your patent will last and whether your patent is eligible for PTA. For starters, PTA is only possible for nonprovisional patents, which are considered true patent applications. PTA is also only available for utility applications, not for design applications. This is because the term of a design application is not affected by the length of time that prosecution takes, as is the case with utility applications.

As we mentioned, patents are granted for 20 years from the effective filing date and also require periodic maintenance fees which maintain the enforceability of the patent. If, however, your patent is granted a PTA, the actual expiration date will change. There are three different subcategories of PTA: A-type, B-type, and C-type delays. These may be received under the following circumstances:

A-Type Delay

  • An office action or notice of allowance is issued more than 14 months after the application is filed.
  • More than four months pass from when an applicant filed a reply that an office action is taken.
  • More than four months pass after a decision on appeal or decision by a federal court finds at least one claim allowable.
  • A patent is issued more than four months after an issue fee payment is made.

B-Type Delay

  • The application is pending for more than three years, excluding time related to:
    • Continued examination.
    • Interference or derivation proceeding.
    • Imposition of a secrecy order.
    • Review by the USPTO on appeal or by federal court.
    • Delays in processing at the request of the applicant

C-Type Delay

  • N The application was delayed due to interference or derivation proceeding, imposition of a secrecy order, or appellate review by the USPTO or federal court that reversed a rejected patent.

The total amount of PTA is calculated by adding the various subtypes of PTAs applicable, which are delays caused by the USPTO, and subtracting any delays caused by the applicant. The term of the patent is then extended by that number of days. We know that these calculations can be complex. A patent attorney at our firm can review the specifics of your patent application to determine how much time may be added to your patent’s lifespan.


Helping You Manage Your Patent Portfolio

We recognize that in the business world, time is money. Our patent gurus are committed to helping you maximize the lifespan of your patent so you can protect your innovative idea and future revenue stream for as long as possible. This may include helping you calculate your PTA or staying up-to-date with your patent maintenance fees.

Watch our video to learn more about patent term adjustments here. You can also head to our earlier blog on maintenance fees.

We strive to provide high-quality patent portfolio management services while treating each client with the care and respect that each one deserves. If you have any questions regarding your patent application, we know the ins and outs of the entire process and have the answers you need. Contact us today for a free consultation!

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