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  1. #1 PATENTS 
    Forum Professor
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    In the circuitous haze of my mind
    Not sure if this topic is out of place but:

    To this point I was under the impression that patents last 20 years, where you unconditionally have full rights and control to the invention and can choose whether to lease it to companies for royalties or not.
    But someone I know just told me that patents only last 7 years, while the other 13 years, anyone can use your patent, but they have to pay a set price through the government or something.

    Is this at all true? I never saw this on the USTPO website, and I have done some real reading on patents with noting like this coming up.

    Of all the wonders in the universe, none is likely more fascinating and complicated than human nature.

    "Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe."

    "Great spirits have always found violent opposition from mediocrities. The latter cannot understand it when a man does not thoughtlessly submit to hereditary prejudices but honestly and courageously uses his intelligence"


    Use your computing strength for science!
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  3. #2  
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    You may find this link to the US Patents Office useful. I haven't searched for an answer to your query on the site, but it is quite likely there.

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  4. #3  
    Forum Professor sunshinewarrior's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    From ophiolite's link:

    A patent for an invention is the grant of a property right to the inventor, issued by the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Generally, the term of a new patent is 20 years from the date on which the application for the patent was filed in the United States or, in special cases, from the date an earlier related application was filed, subject to the payment of maintenance fees. U.S. patent grants are effective only within the United States, U.S. territories, and U.S. possessions. Under certain circumstances, patent term extensions or adjustments may be available.
    Note some of the qualifications. In practice, the most commercially critical patents tend to be those for pharmaceuticals. In these cases, thanks to the length of time needed to conduct trials and satisfy, say, the USFDA, the company will only have 7 - 13 years of the patent left to actually market the product. Ergo, the commercial life of the patent is usually much shorter (though not a fixed period) than the actual lifespan of 20 (or whatever) years.
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