Intellectual Property Law
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I assume the additional patents are divisional patents
Generally speaking, where a patent application is a divisional of another application the expiration date of the divisional is based on the application date of the parent application.
so the divisional will expire 20 years from May 7, 1996 (this is also often called a terminal disclaimer termination).
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Thank you. It is very important I get a clear understanding of the situation. All I remember when these patents issued is that they were "Continuation-In-Part". Is a Continuation-In-Part the same as a divisional patent? How can I know if my additional patents are divisional? Is there any way you can look them up since you have the numbers? Thanks again
A continuation-in-part patent application (also just known as a continuation application) includes subject matter not disclosed in the parent patent application. Similar to a divisional a continuation claims the sme priority date of the parent application and would therefore expire in 20 years.
A "CIP" patent application contains information "OLD Material" from the parent application and "new" material not found in the parent application.
Such a "CIP" does claim priority back to the filing date of the parent but for the "OLD" material only. The new material only has priority back to the filing date of the CIP.
Thus, the new material of the CIP expires 20 years from the filing date of the CIP, not the parent application.
Therefore, the CIP patent does not expire on the same date as the parent for the new material.
Actually I am 100% correct.
According to USPTO Records, Patent 5,842,437 is a Continuation in part of 5,799,609 (application 08/643,985 filed on 05-07-1996) (all maintenance fees have been paid)
Patent 6,055,934 is a continuation of 5,799,609 (application 08/643,985 05-07-1996). I would need to review this patent to see what type of “continuation” it happens to be. (all maintenance fees have been paid)
Now it is true that one can call a patent application a "CIP" when it is not and the records at the USPTO are based on what the person filing the application calls the application (CIP, Divisional, continuation, etc.).
Thus one would need to verify a patent called a "CIP" is a true "CIP". More specifically, the important issues is what is claimed in the "CIP" and if the claims are directed to the new material.
In the future, since you clearly value your patents, as you paid those expensive 12 year maintenance fees, I would direct my patent questions to a local patent attorney. Patent validity is a mine field and one wrong step and boom . .. you have made an expensive mistake listening to wrong answers regarding same and there are plenty of wrong answers out there.
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