According to the publication date, this patent should have expired in 2006. The last legal event recorded however is a correction made in 2007. Does this mean that is was renewed? Would an inventor correct an expired patent? Why would a renewal not be recorded as a legal event?

  • There are period fees in most countries to keep a patent in force and many have fees to even keep an application pending while they are not working on it. These fees are called renewal fees or maintenance fees. This is nothing like the optional renewal of copyrights.
    – George White
    Commented Aug 14, 2014 at 0:27
  • Also, by international convention patent documents ending "A" something do not represent the granting of a patent - just the publication of an application for a patent. Look for "B" on the end of a granted patent document.
    – George White
    Commented Aug 14, 2014 at 0:30

2 Answers 2


Application was filed in 1986 and withdrawn in 1990. No patent was granted, since the applicant failed to respond to a communication from the examining division. Also, no renewal fee was paid after 1990. The 2007 change seems to merely relate to an update of the inventor record in the database. It has nothing to do with the application still being pending.

BTW, the "A3" kind code you mentioned refers to the search report when published separately. The published application itself is EP0198288 A2.


Not sure what you mean by "renewed". However this page


says Status=withdrawn which means it's not an active patent and may never have been actually issued. Normally we would click on "all documents" on the left to get the full records, but in this case it says files have been destroyed, which supports the idea that it's not active. My expectation is that if something of interest had happened in 2007, the file would not have been destroyed. In any case, this stems from a 1986 application. While I am far from being an expert on EPO matters, it seems unlikely that any protection to anything would linger after 28 years.

You have also asked about the US counterpart US5278057. Looking at USPTO PAIR


it is showing as expired in 2006 due to non-payment of maintenance fees, in 2006. Even if the assignees had paid the fees it would have expired in 2010 (there is a terminal disclaimer on the face of the patent).

Good luck!

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