How Long Does A Patent Last (And Why)?

How Long Does A Patent Last (And Why)?

Exact Answer: 15-20 Years

The world is changing constantly. This is mainly because new technologies are evolving every day. We get to see how the scientists come up with something new from time to time. With discoveries and inventions happening constantly, intellectual property has become very important. 

Many people might not be aware of the idea of intellectual property. It can simply be looked at as something that excludes or prohibits everyone except you to use or sell a particular invention. A patent is one of the most well-known types of intellectual property. It stops others from selling or using a certain invention on which you have patent rights.  

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How Long Does A Patent Last?

Type Of PatentsDuration
Utility Patent20 Years
Design Patent14 Years

No matter what the thing is, it is going to end one day or another. Everyone knows the theory that nothing can last forever. Everything has an expiry date or a particular period of life. The same applies to a patent as well. When you file for a patent on some invention, it is not going to last forever.

In other words, we can say that a patent doesn’t exclude others from using that invention forever. There is a particular time limit for which a patent can be granted to a person. To figure out how long your patent will last, you’ll need to know two things. First is what kind of patent you have and second when it was first filed.

You, too, can calculate patent expiration dates with confidence if you understand a few simple guidelines and the various types of patent applications. Generally, a normal patent is granted for 20 years. It is called a utility patent, and most of the people who apply for patent rights, apply for utility patents.

Moreover, there are various rules and regulations as well when it comes to the duration of a patent. A design patent, on the other hand, lasts up to 14 years. It begins from the day it is granted, and the count goes on as per the filing date. 

One thing that you must keep in mind while applying for a patent is that you should always remember the important dates such as the date on which you filed it and the day on which it is granted. This is because it helps you keep a track of time and know when exactly your patent is going to get over.

Why Does A Patent Last That Long?

When we talk about patents and the duration for which a patent lasts, one of the questions that come to everyone’s mind is that why do patents last for only 20 years in the case of utility patents and 14 years in the case of design patents. Many people are still confused thinking why a patent has to expire.

Well, it can be said that a patent expires because allowing it to remain in force for an extended period restricts others from improving on existing technology. Inventors can recoup their investment and benefit from their inventions under current patent laws, which does not stifle innovation.

There must be a balance struck between an individual’s and public’s rights. This is why patents allow the inventors to profit from their hard work in developing the innovation. But, at the same time, it has to end eventually so that it doesn’t violate the public’s right to improve existing technology and make it more accessible to the general public. 

Patents that last indefinitely keep the cost of new technology expensive and beyond the reach of the average person. The current patent system finds a compromise between the inventor’s right to control who uses, manufactures, and sells his invention and the public’s right to exploit and advance new technology.

Generally both the utility patent and design patent expire once their term of 20 and 14 years respectively is over. But, a utility patent can expire when the one who holds the patent rights is unable to pay the maintenance fees. But, this is the case only with utility patents and not design patents.


In a world where many people work harder and harder to come up with a new idea or technology, patents have become very important. Not just important, patents have gained a lot of popularity as well because no one wants to come up with something new and let everyone else use or sell it.

A patent helps you enjoy exclusive rights to your innovations. It prohibits everyone else from getting profit out of your hard work for 20 years (or 14 years in the case of design patents). At the same time, the patents eventually expire because the public can use a particular technology after the patent is over to come up with further new ideas.


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