A patent's legal status gives you information on the various events that can occur during a patent's lifecycle. For example, you can find out whether a patent has been granted, abandoned or has expired.
Why are Legal Statuses interesting?
Whether a patent is in force or not is usually considered as the key to its value. An abandoned, expired or invalid patent can't be utilized in blocking someone else from operating in a particular technology area so will have very little value.
Also, working out when a patent has been or will expiry is not just down to adding 20 years on to the filing date since various events can occur during this time.
This is important since accurately predicting the lifecycle of a patent can affect various decisions a company could make regarding IP.
What are the important questions to ask regarding Legal Status?
- What's the value of a patent?
- What is this patent's family like and which jurisdictions are covered in the family?
- When are the renewal/maintenance fees due for this patent?
- Who is the owner of this patent?
- What is the lifecycle for this patent?
Being able to understand the lifecycle of a patent helps determine freedom to operate, licensing opportunities, potential mergers and acquisitions and valuation of a portfolio.