June 8, 2015
The 1994 Uruguay Round Agreements Act (“URAA”) changed the way patent term is accorded to United States patents. Under Section 532(a)(1) of the URAA, the term of an issued patent is indeterminate, beginning at the issue date of the patent and ending on the 20-year anniversary of the filing or domestic priority date of the patent. This provision took effect for U.S. patents filed on or after June 8, 1995. Patents filed earlier than June 8, 1995 were accorded a natural term of 17 years, beginning from the issue date of the patent.
Today marks the 20-year anniversary of the effective date of the URAA. This means that the first patents filed after the URAA effective date—i.e., those filed on June 8, 1995—have a natural term that expires today.
Fitch Even IP Alert®