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Greg
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Patent expiration
« on: Jul 16th, 2004, 4:30pm »
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Hi
 
I have been using a product that has had a patent recently expire. The patent was for a unique feature incorporated into the design.
 
I am looking at improving this product that I use regularly and have now developed my own product that whilst looks similar to what I have been using does not contain the original patented design. I consider my product superior to what I have been using even though it appears very similar to the product I have been using.
 
Questions
Given the patent having expired - am I now entitled to produce and market my product that is similar to the product I have been using?
 
Is it possible for me to actually patent my own product now? I am mindful that there are similarities between both products however there are some differences as well?  
 
Sorry if this appears vague but I would appreciate some response before I consider further action. I have actually been advised to perform a prior art search and also spend a considerable sum ensuring there is no infringement on my intention on using this new product.
Given the patent expiration do I need to be concerned?
 
Thankyou
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Richard Tanzer
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Re: Patent expiration
« Reply #1 on: Jul 17th, 2004, 3:31pm »
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If a patent has expired (call it the '001 patent) then you don't have to be concerned about infringing it.  Whether or not your product infringes other patents, I have no way of knowing.
 
Regarding patenting your product:
-  If you have already marketed it, you have lost the opportunity to patent the product in most countries of the world.
-  If you have been marketing your product for 1 year, you have lost the opportunity to patent the product in the USA.
 
Regarding similarities between your product and the earlier product or the '001 patent:  similarities may make your product obvious, and therefor not patentable.
 
You can do your own prior art search for free using the US Patent and Trademark web site, or the web site of other nations and organizations, or by a search of technical literature at a university library.  Your prior art search will be less comprehensive that a professional, but it will at least give you some indication of what prior art exists.
 
 - Richard
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Frozen_out
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Re: Patent expiration
« Reply #2 on: Aug 1st, 2004, 8:28am »
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Dear Greg,
The earlier you get good advise, the more you can save.
 
M. Arthur Auslander  
Auslander & Thomas-Intellectual Property Law Since 1909
3008 Johnson Ave., New York, NY 10463
7185430266, aus@auslander.com
ELAINE's Workshop®
E arly L egal A dvice I s N ot E xpensive™
Reality Check®
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Ken
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Re: Patent expiration
« Reply #3 on: Oct 14th, 2004, 12:25pm »
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How can you determine if a patent is abandon?
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Jonathan
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Posts: 611
Re: Patent expiration
« Reply #4 on: Oct 14th, 2004, 1:59pm »
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Also keep in mind that even if a patent lapses due to failure to pay a Maintenance Fee, it is possible to re-instate it by petition and paying the appropriate fees.
 
 
If your question was more so about determining patent term, in general just add 20 years to the filing date of the earliest non-provisional application,  for applications filed after 6/8/95. But you ought to consult appropriately trained patent counsel to determine the exact date - calculating patent term is not rocket science but there are various situations to take into account that the amateur can easily overlook or not apply properly - patent term adjustment, foreign priority, terminal disclaimers etc.  
« Last Edit: Oct 14th, 2004, 2:13pm by Jonathan » IP Logged
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