How long does a patent last? | Patent duration periods
Years of protection provided by patents, copyrights and trademarks




How long is a patent good for? How long do patents last?

20 years for utility and plant patents.  Expiration date for utility and plant patents issued after June 8, 1995.  “How long do patents last? Utility and plant patents issued since June 8, 1995 expire 20 years from the date of application with the payment of maintenance fees.  …Patents are not renewable. Under special circumstances, a patent term may be extended.” Patent lifetime.  Does a patent last forever?  (Georgia Tech Library and Information Center, “Patent Facts,” Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Georgia, June 18, 2008)

20 years.  Length of time patent protection is valid.  "Patent protection only lasts 20 years in the United States, and copyright protection lasts almost 100, depending on when it was filed. Trademark protection is forever, as long as you are using it, it keeps right on plugging." How long is a patent good for? How long are patents valid? Patents don't last forever. (Marya Yee, partner and member, Donovan & Yee LLP, New York, quoted in Liza Casabona, “Fighting Knockoffs By Protecting A Brand,” Women’s Wear Daily, February 1, 2006)

20 years.  "Getting that first patent is a big step for most small businesses. It usually caps several years of effort and hefty patent expenses, but the payoff is the potential to profit from an invention while enjoying protection from copycats for up to 20 years." Patent protection length of time.  How long is a patent good for? (Cyndia Zwahlen, “Long Road to a Patent Can Pay Off in Profits,” Los Angeles Times, April 19, 2006)  Find more information about developing a patent strategy.

20 years for a utility patent.  Once a patent is granted, the inventor has 20 years to pursue the market potential of a utility patent, 14 years for a design patent and 20 years for a plant patent.  What is the length of time a patent can be held? What is the typical length of time a patent lasts?   (Bevolyn Williams-Harold, “You've got it made! (developing invention ideas),” Black Enterprise, June 1, 1999)

17 years for utility and plant patents (issued prior to 1995).  “Utility and plant patents issued prior to June 8, 1995 expire 17 years from the date of issue with the payment of maintenance fees. …Patents are not renewable. Under special circumstances, a patent term may be extended.”  Does a patent last forever? (Georgia Tech Library and Information Center, “Patent Facts,” Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Georgia, June 18, 2008)

14 years for a design patent.  “There are two main types of patents, design and utility. If it is mainly the design that you are concerned with then you should choose that option. If you are more concerned about how the invention will function, then apply for a utility patent. There is also the consideration of how long you are protected. A utility patent is good for twenty years, while a design patent only lasts fourteen.”  How long do design patents last? (Gregg Hall, Navarre Beach, Florida, “Why A Patent Lawyer Can Be An Inventor 's Best Friend,” Content for Reprint,” Tuesday, November 6, 2007)

14 years for a design patent.  Once a patent is granted, the inventor has 20 years to pursue the market potential of a utility patent, 14 years for a design patent and 20 years for a plant patent.  What is the patent time limit?  How long is patent duration? (Bevolyn Williams-Harold, “You've got it made! (developing invention ideas),” Black Enterprise, June 1, 1999)

14 years for design patents.  “How long do patents last? …Design [patents] expire 14 years from the date of issue. Patents are not renewable. Under special circumstances, a patent term may be extended.”  Does a patent last forever? (Georgia Tech Library and Information Center, “Patent Facts,” Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Georgia, June 18, 2008)

Patent Extensions

Some pharmaceutical patent protection periods may be extended. Patents can be extended only by special act of Congress.  There are some exceptions.  For example, the patent protection periods for certain pharmaceutical patents may be extended in order to compensate for time lost due to Government-required testing.

How long does a copyright last?

Almost 100 years.  Length of time copyright protection lasts depending on when it was filed.  "Patent protection only lasts 20 years in the United States, and copyright protection lasts almost 100, depending on when it was filed. Trademark protection is forever, as long as you are using it, it keeps right on plugging." How long is a copyright good for?  (Marya Yee, partner and member, Donovan & Yee LLP, New York, quoted in Liza Casabona, “Fighting Knockoffs By Protecting A Brand," Women’s Wear Daily, February 1, 2006)

50 years plus the author’s lifetime.  Length of time that copyright protection is valid.  “A copyright is the exclusive right to profit from how your idea is expressed, whether it is in the form of a manuscript, work of art or computer software program. Copyrights are valid throughout the author's lifetime plus 50 years. You don't have to spend any money to copyright something; All you have to do is write the word "copyright" or the copyright symbol © on the written work. But a copyright registration ($20 for most works) provides dated protection if you have to defend your rights in court.”  (Caryne Brown, “Making money making toys: how black inventors are bringing innovative ideas to the toy market”, Black Enterprise, November 1, 1993)