If you encounter a delay during a patent prosecution, you have the ability to seek a Patent Term Adjustment (PTA). If your PTA request is approved, you will receive an extension of time on the standard patent term. This type of extension is sought most often with products that have long regulatory approval lifecycles. A common example is a company that holds a patent on a pharmaceutical drug.
The onus for offering PTAs in the United States can be traced back to the adoption of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade in 1995. The U.S. adopted GATT in an effort to harmonize the U.S. patent term with other developed countries. This is why the patent term in the U.S. is now limited to 20 years from the earliest effective filing date. However, this also means that any delays during examination would erode a patent’s period of enforceability. This exposes a patent applicant to losing potentially millions of dollars or more. When the U.S. adopted GATT, the burden was placed on the applicant to avoid delays during examination. This meant a delay caused by the USPTO could cost an applicant days or years of patent term without any recourse. Congress created the PTA to remedy this issue.
The objective of a PTA is to modify the patent term in an effort to compensate for a delay caused by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) during the patent examination process. In basic terms, the calculation used for a PTA is taking the number of days of USPTO delay and subtracting the number of days that the application has been delayed.
Acceptance of Patent Term Adjustment
It is not possible to obtain a PTA randomly. There need to be specific factual scenarios in order to qualify for a PTA. Such scenarios include:
- When the USPTO failed to issue a notice within fourteen months after the application filing date
- When the USPTO failed to respond to an applicant’s Reply within four months
- When the USPTO failed to respond to a decision rendered by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) within four months
- When the USPTO failed to issue a patent within four months after the issue fee is paid
Petition for PTA Correction
The amount of time afforded under a PTA is initially determined by the USPTO. However, if you are unhappy with the PTA calculation provided, you have the option to file a petition for reconsideration. Bear in mind that you would need to file this petition no later than two months from the date the patent was issued. However, this deadline can be extended by up to five months if you agree to pay certain extension fees.
Have Questions? Contact an Experienced Patent Attorney in Los Angeles Today
If you have questions about the laws and regulations governing patents, take action by contacting the highly reputable patent attorneys at Omni Legal Group. Omni Legal Group is a premier Patent, Trademark, and Copyright law firm with offices in Los Angeles, Santa Monica, and Beverly Hills. For further information or to schedule a consultation please contact Omni Legal Group at 855.433.2226 or visit www.OmniLegalGroup.com to learn more.