WASHINGTON – The US Department of Commerce’s United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) announced the release of a new calculator that enables members of the public to estimate the expiration date of a utility, plant, or design patent. According to the Office, the calculator can be downloaded at http://www.uspto.gov/patents/law/patent_term_calculator.jsp.
“This new calculator is another educational tool we’re providing to our nation’s innovators and entrepreneurs,” said Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO David Kappos. “In conjunction with the Intellectual Property (IP) Awareness Assessment Tool we released in March, the calculator can help manufacturers, small businesses, entrepreneurs, and independent inventors assess and improve their knowledge of IP.”
The calculator provides a best estimate of a patent’s expiration date, based on a comprehensive list of factors than can be found in USPTO records. Before relying on an expiration date, individuals should always carefully inspect all relevant documents available through the USPTO, court records and elsewhere, and consult with an attorney.