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What is a terminal disclaimer?

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When an inventor already has a patent issued on an invention and files another patent application on essentially the same invention, only making changes deemed obvious, the USPTO will likely require that the applicant sign a binding agreement to limit the second patent, referred to as a “terminal disclaimer.” In general terms, the disclaimer will state that the later patent will expire at the same time as the former one, and will further state that the later patent will be enforceable only if both the first and second patents remain commonly owned. A quick example would be as follows: Patent A is issued and later Patent B is issued to the same inventor with a terminal disclaimer attached. Under these circumstances, Patent B will have the same expiration date as Patent A, even though it was filed later.

For more information on intellectual property, please visit Patent, Trademark, Copyright Information.

The content of this article is not intended to be, and does not constitute, legal advice and does not create attorney-client privilege. Consult the attorney of your choice before embarking on any legal matter or any document preparation/filing.

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Dr. Thomas R. (Terry) Williamson III is a Patent Attorney practicing in Atlanta, Georgia.

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Williamson Intellectual Property Law, LLC
1870 The Exchange, Suite 100
Atlanta, GA 30339
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Williamson Intellectual Property Law, LLC
1870 The Exchange, Suite 100 - Atlanta, Georgia 30339