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By J.D. Houvener
Patent Attorney and Founder

I’ll put this here into the comments and again keep those live questions going I’ll monitor the chat. So this one is, “What does my mother need to do to reactivate an abandoned US Patent that she is the originator of? She did not receive any notification that the patent had expired. Her patent was published on March 6, 2002. Patent life spans are 20 years, so the status is abandoned as of March 6, 2023.”

Okay well that was a long time ago. You’re right to be worried about the time period here. Let’s talk about abandonment in general. So when an application goes abandoned, that just means that you either did not respond to an office action or a notice of missing parts on time, and usually you have between three and up to six months – that’s usually the maximum time – to respond to an examiner. Okay? And if you don’t respond, it will go abandoned. 

Now there are ways to revive. Let’s say you, you come after you have a financial hardship or maybe you have a, you know, actual real life, you know, fire or an emergency – some sort of financial setback – to where you’re not able to respond. Or maybe your attorney is not getting a hold of you and they’re being disbarred or they’re having a major problem at their law firm; they can’t communicate with you. Those are valid reasons to revive your application and so a petition to revive is all that’s required and you can stand it back up and then make the response as if, you know, no time had lapsed.  

The problem here in this case is that there is a 20-year rule. Once the patent gets granted, there is a maximum of 20 years’ protection because so much time has passed, right? Since 2002 we’re talking over 20 years. You’re going to have to have a lot of explanation and likely it’ll be insurmountable to prove that 20 years has gone by and you haven’t been able to come up with the funds or find the time to respond. Maybe it’s true – I mean hey, I’ll just come up with a story – not to say anything bad about your mother – but let’s say she was incarcerated, went to prison for 20 years and couldn’t respond. That actually may be a valid reason to revive that application from 2002 and there may be a path forward. 

We have revived patent applications as long as about eight years after they went abandoned. 20 would be an enormous record, not saying it’s impossible, but what’s unique here is that the patent hasn’t been granted yet. So if you were by a miracle to get it to be revived, you would have 20 years from the date of grant, okay? If it were to become granted. 

Thank you for that question.

About the Author
J.D. Houvener is a Registered USPTO Patent Attorney who has a strong interest in helping entrepreneurs and businesses thrive. J.D. leverages his technical background in engineering and experience in the aerospace industry to provide businesses with a unique perspective on their patent needs. He works with clients who are serious about investing in their intellectual assets and provides counsel on how to capitalize their patents in the market. If you have any questions regarding this article or patents in general, consider contacting J.D. at