So far this year, the USPTO has issued only nine patents with filing dates of before June 8, 1995. That date represents an important turning point in patent law. Patents filed before that date have a term of 17–years from the issuance date. Later filed patents have a term of 20–years from the filing date.
Of the seven recent patents based upon old applications. Barring a terminal disclaimer or failure to pay a maintenance fee, all of these will be in force until 2029 and all are based on a filing date of 1995 or before.
- Secrecy Orders: Pat. Nos. 8,119,959 (Flight control of missiles); 8,132,494 (Ballistic resistant composite article having improved matrix system); 8,111,581 (Monitoring system for a ship’s radiated noise) and 8,111,584 (method of detecting a submerged vessel in or near the wake of a ship).
- Delay in considering whether to institute an interference: Pat. Nos. 8,102,419 (film-to-digital scanning algorithm) and 8,099,154 (therapeutic acoustic pressure wave generator).
- Prosecution suspended while re-examining a family member application: Pat. No. 8,112,782 (based upon Personalized Media Communications family of patents).
- Abandonment + Revival and examination of several hundred claims through including multiple amendments: Pat. No. 8,097,405 (Enzo Biochem patent).
- Eight rejections + claim amendments: Pat. No. 8,101,149 (Claim 1 in full: “Purified cage molecules consisting of carbon atoms.” Owned by Mitsubishi).
Note – I updated this on 3/15/2012 to correct for an error in my database that was identified by a US Patent Examiner.
Apart from those held under secrecy order, I suspect that there are now around 400 pre-URAA applications still pending at the USPTO.