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By J.D. Houvener
Patent Attorney and Founder

100 You’ve reached the finish line and you’ve got your patent granted Congrats now how long is it good for when do they expire well did you know that patents once they’re awarded can protect you for 20 years and design patents for 15 but did you know that you could make them last even longer with building a patent portfolio with continuation patent applications yes longer than 20 years

[Music] hello everyone my name is JB Hooven ER USPTO patent attorney and I’m the managing partner at CEO at bold patents law firm today I’ll be talking about how long patent rights last when they expire and how to extend the life of your patent with a little secret of mine with continuations so today I’ll be sharing with you and helping you understand how long patents are good for and if you stick around to the end I’ll be sharing that secret of how to extend patents beyond that 20 years in the details below you’ll see a description of a bit of a timeline to jump forward in the video to a certain spot that you want to move toward so first up utility patents what is a utility patent let’s talk about that really quick all right utility patents generate productivity these are inventions that give you value right functional benefit right if you think about you know the iPhone okay it’s got utility in terms of its helping you be more efficient it’s helping us conduct business or talk to people around the world using a cellular device that’s in a certain form and function it’s giving you benefits huge benefits and utility on the other side a design just protects what it looks like just the ornamentation the aesthetic appeal of that invention not what it does okay and for most valuable inventions you need both let’s go back to the iPhone which I love coming back to the shape the fact that it has a button position at the bottom right that’s a design of the overall phone that’s a separate protection then the utility patent that reside in what it does right the buttons you push apps all the functionality of the system the design is the actual three-dimensional product that you’re holding that’s the difference so let’s go back to utility patents okay so the functional benefit okay let’s think about those patents they are awarded with 20 years of monopoly right monopoly is a powerful word but it’s true going way back to the Constitution article 1 section 8 Clause 8 says that for inventors that have new and useful inventions the government will give you 20 years of limited protection which meaning the government will go to bat for you and help you in federal court make sure that you are the only one able to make use sell or import your invention in the US of A alright that’s a big deal so back in the Constitution those founding fathers thought it was that important to be able to get people’s attention right to incentivize inventors to get come out of the Woodworks and share their brains with the rest of us that’s the whole system that’s why utility tons are given that extra five years because we think that there needs to be that full explanation that bigger reward for telling us how you built it right how we’re supposed to make this invention design patents don’t get a little don’t get too much less than 15 years is a good chunk of time don’t get me wrong but those are just more limited right the actual disclosure in a design patent it’s just a drawing right it’s just the drawing it’s a very simple clause it says I claim the drawings as shown below that’s truly all the design patents say in words it’s all about the drawings now you ask how long did they last as I said utility is 20 years design is 15 years but for interesting cases right for those inventors and business owners that are looking to get beyond that 20 year mark there are some secrets okay the first secret I’ll share with you is that in utility filings and even design filings there are certain parts of the invention right this whole invention about how it’s going to market that are kept as trade secrets a classic example is a company an aerospace company that manufactures air Planes okay huge monolithic wings that are made of carbon fiber and they’re assembled using complex tools and equipment and processes that are patented you bet right how to how to create that curvature how to add those layers in but they don’t tell you for example how long to heat it or at what radius or at what degree specifically you heat it right there’s just enough that’s disclosed in that patent but trade secret just kept within the company now there is the second way this is a major way to get additional time for your invention is to file a continuation application when your parent what’s called a parent application is filed you have until that parent gets issued the opportunity to file a continuation or what’s called a continuation in part ok contusion part is when you’ve got a bell or a whistle or new improvement to your core patent invention and you want to try to protect that improvement that is a wonderful opportunity to file that continuation that’ll take on a life of its own and you guessed it a term of its own and it will go beyond that twenty years when the parent expires the child patent will continue on and get you additional protection for your overall invention so for more about continuations please read our blog article click the link below to get your free book on bold ideas the inventors guide to patents and schedule a free 30-minute consult if you’re ready to move forward at bold IP com thanks a lot and have a great day


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