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Terminal Disclaimers

Jim Ruttler, Patent Attorney

Posted Monday, June 28, 2010 by Jim Ruttler

Terminal disclaimers are used when two or more related applications have been filed sharing a common priority date. A patent examiner will ususally require that a terminal disclaimer be filed to limit both patents issued on the applications from extending beyond the term of the other. While this practice was especially important when patent terms were calculated from the date of issuance, it remains important now given the patent term adjustments that can be differently granted between patents. Interestingly, the PTO default terminal disclaimer form limits the term of the patents to that with the smallest patent term adjustment. To avoid this potential truncation of rights, it is good practice to consider drafting a custom terminal disclaimer form to limit the term to the longest patent term adjustment.

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