Accurately determining patent expiration dates: Why it’s harder than you may think

Patents are expensive.  Patents are important.  You might think, therefore, that it would be easy to determine how long a patent lasts, right?

Sadly, you’d be wrong.

In the past, it was pretty easy:  The first US patent was granted 227 years ago today, on July 31, 1790. It had a “term not exceeding fourteen years” as can be plainly seen at 1 Stat. 110.

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