We recently published a blog post that covered how IFI data enhancements make it easier to know when a patent will expire. That article focused on US patents, and in this post we’ll discuss European patents.
Things are more complicated for European Patent Office (EPO) granted patents. The European Patent Office grants patents which may be registered in specific countries or “designated states”. IFI released legal status data at the EPO designated state level in 2016. This was described in our blog post IFI Patent Status Indicator Now Available for EP Documents: An Example.
IFI has recently changed the IFI patstat Legal Status Indicator. We now track the status at the EPO grant (B1 & B2) level. We have simplified the indicator for designated states to make it easier to track where the patents are in force.
An Example - EP-2175832-B1
As an example, consider EP-2175832-B1 “SKIN-COLOURING METHOD USING DEHYDROASCORBIC ACID OR ITS ISOMER AND AN AMINE”, published October 5, 2016; applied for July 7, 2008 by L'Oreal SA.
IFI computes the Anticipated Expiration Date as July 7, 2018. This is a simple application of the 20 year term rule described in our previous blog post.
We produce a patstat Legal Status Indicator at the EP level, and at the designated state level. In this case:
At the EP level, the status will be “Active” if the patent is in force in at least one designated state. Otherwise, the status will be either “Not-in-force”, “Expired – Fee Related”, “Expired – Lifetime”, “Revoked” or “Withdrawn – After Issue”. “Not-in-force” means that the patent is not in force in any of the designated states.
For each designated state, the status will be either “In-force” or “Not-in-force”. This represents a change and simplification over IFI’s previous scheme (described in IFI Patent Status Indicator Now Available for EP Documents: An Example). The default value at the Designated States level is "Active" for granted patents. In some cases, there is no indication of nonactive status. In these cases, an EP patent may appear to be in force when it is not.
For the 61,582 EPO patent grants with application dates in 2008, the status counts are:
|Expired - Fee Related||1,260|
|Withdrawn - After Issue||6|
IFI CLAIMS is working to expand its enhanced data content, including standardized names, legal status indicator and expiration dates to other countries. If you would like more information on our data coverage, please contact us.