US Patents

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Submarine Patents

Before June 8, 1995, the term of a United States patent was 17 years from its issue date.  A number of patent applications are still pending that were filed before June 8, 1995, and if issued as patents, will thus have 17 year terms.  Many were filed in the 1970s, and cover basic technologies.  These applications are sometimes referred to as submarine patents because they have been hidden for a very long time. 

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