USPTO: Interpretation Regarding Overlapping Patent Term Adjustments
On June 21, 2004, the USPTO published its "Explanation of 37 CFR 1.703(f) and of the United States Patent and Trademark Office Interpretation of 35 U.S.C. 154(b)(2)(A)" stating that "to the extent that periods of delay attributable to grounds specified in paragraph (1) [on patent term guarantees] overlap, the period of any adjustment granted under this subsection shall not exceed the actual number of days the issuance of the patent was delayed. "
The June 21 publication explains the Office’s policy since 2000 concerning patent term adjustment where there are multiple grounds for extending the term of a patent:
"Specifically, the Office has consistently taken the position that if an application is entitled to an adjustment under the three-year pendency provision of 35 U.S.C. 154(b)(1)(B), the entire period during which the application was pending before the Office (except for periods excluded under 35 U.S.C. 154(b)(1)(B)(i)-(iii)), and not just the period beginning three years after the actual filing date of the application, is the relevant period under 35 U.S.C. 154(b)(1)(B) in determining whether periods of delay ‘‘overlap’’ under 35 U.S.C. 154(b)(2)(A). . . . Thus, the Office does not interpret 35 U.S.C. 154(b)(2)(A) as permitting either patent term adjustment under 35 U.S.C. 154(b)(1)(A)(i)–(iv), or patent term adjustment under 35 U.S.C. 154(b)(1)(B), but not as permitting patent term adjustment under both 35 U.S.C. 154(b)(1)(A)(i)–(iv) and 154(b)(1)(B).
Courtesy of William F. Heinze*
Thomas, Kayden, Horstemeyer & Risley, L.L.P.
100 Galleria Parkway, N.W., Suite 1750
Atlanta, GA 30339-5948 (USA)
Fax: (770) 951-0933
Mobile: (404) 729-0729
E-Mail: BillHeinze@tkhr.com (business)
E-Mail: BillHeinze@yahoo.com (personal)
E-Mail: BillHeinze@tmo.blackberry.net (mobile)
*Admitted to practice in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Not admitted in Georgia.