Continuation, continuation-in part, and divisional patent applications
Later-filed nonprovisional application may claim the benefit of earlier nonprovisional application (“parent” application) if the earlier application is still pending (not yet issued or abandoned).
Continuation: (MPEP 201.07) Has same disclosure as “parent”
Continuation-in-Part: (MPEP 201.08) Disclosure includes additional subject matter not disclosed in parent
Divisional Application (DIV)
Has same disclosure as “parent,” but claims an invention independent or distinct from the invention claimed in the parent (MPEP 201.06)
PATENT APPLICATION FILING DATES
Patents issued from nonprovisional applications filed on or after June 8, 1995: the patent term begins when the patent issues and ends on the date 20 years from the application filing date
Patents issued from continuing applications filed on or after June 8, 1995: the patent term lasts 20 years from the filing date of the earliest parent (nonprovisional) application.