Today, there is a considerable variety of patent applications and it can often be a daunting task to recall and keep track of all of them. Patent Offices across the globe use terminologies that are foreign to many of us and more often than not, novice inventors and IP managers find it difficult to keep up with the web of patent applications, its kinds and their respective durations of enforceability.
While the Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS Agreement) under Article 33, mandated a universal term of 20 years from the date of filing, there are countries which have granted extensions to patent terms and have also provided for patent term adjustments. Ergo, determining patent terms becomes an even more complicated assignment, in the presence of dense legalese.
The duration of enforceability of a patent is one of its most important aspects because it plays a crucial role in licensing and litigation amongst many other things. In case of patent licensing, the value of each license depends on term of right to exclude and for litigation, patent term largely affects availability of injunctions, royalty amount and damages. Therefore, the determination of a life of a patent is necessary for critical legal and business decision making process. Though there is a standard term of 20 years agreed by countries, patent terms are affected by the types of applications that are filed in patent offices across the world.