I thought patents expired a max of 15 years after publication date. Why does it seem like this patent still has until US Copyright Law expires (75 years)?

In reference to the patent: US2717437

  • How does it seem like that?
    – user18033
    Commented Aug 8, 2017 at 17:34
  • There's rumors going around that Velcro is suing Resellers on eBay that are selling clothing items with Velcro on them. Since I've recently acquired fishing Shirts made by Columbia that use Velcro, it is a concern to me. Commented Aug 10, 2017 at 16:22
  • Such rumor is almost certainly false, but you can ask for clarification in the proper forum.
    – Upnorth
    Commented Aug 10, 2017 at 20:02

1 Answer 1


A US patent issued in 1955 had an expiration of 17 years after issuance. US copyright expiration has nothing to do with patent expiration.

Longer answer: The 17-year rule was changed for utility patent applications filed after June 8, 1995, at which point the patent term became "20 years after filing". More variations and details can be found at 35 USC § 154 and MPEP § 2701.

  • This answer would be even better if you explained how the rules changed in 1995.
    – Eric S
    Commented Aug 8, 2017 at 21:45
  • Thanks, but I felt the specific rules were beyond the scope necessary to answer the question actually being asked. I'm new here, so maybe I should attempt to be succinct rather than dangerously garrulous?
    – Upnorth
    Commented Aug 9, 2017 at 5:30
  • In truth, this question (except for the specific patent number) has been asked and answered multiple times of this site and should be marked as a duplicate. That said, one has to remember that others may see this answer and assume that 17 years from grant date is the answer for all patents. That's why it is useful to mention the fact that the rules changed in 1995.
    – Eric S
    Commented Aug 9, 2017 at 13:12
  • Thank you. I'm glad that they cannot sue me for Patent Infringement just because I'm a Reseller on eBay (there's rumors going around about this for clothing items with Velcro on them). I'll have to look elsewhere in regards to Copyright Infringement, as I know it's against the rules of this website to ask about those questions. Commented Aug 10, 2017 at 16:25
  • Unclear how copyright or even trademark might apply to your question.
    – Upnorth
    Commented Aug 10, 2017 at 20:00

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