If there's a blockbuster pesticide of the past decade, it has to be fipronil for termite control. Therefore, it's of great interest to read the article today by Dan Moreland of PCT magazine. Moreland does a nice job explaining the legal battlefronts forming over the pending expiration of the fipronil patent.
Fipronil was patented in 1990 by Rhône-Poulenc, back in the days of 20 year patents (patents since 1995 are 17 years). This sounds like an exceedingly long time, but because of delays between filing a patent and bringing a product to market, and the high cost of product development and lead time necessary to see a product gain acceptance in the marketplace, most manufacturers will tell you that seventeen years flies about as fast as the blink of an accountant's eye.
Needless to say, BASF and Bayer, holders of the fipronil patent, are not excited to see the patent expire this August. Actively waiting in the wings, to see what the courts decide, are two generic pesticide manufacturers, Cheminova A/S and Makhteshim Agan of North America. At stake is the price you will pay for fipronil for termite control over the foreseeable future, as well as the boundaries of intellectual property for commercial pesticides.
I encourage you to keep informed about the battle. It should be interesting.