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There is no issue date on this patent. The application was filed in April of 2005, so how long can a person hold an idea that has yet to be patent? Can a person manufacture and sell an item that isn't exact to these specifications if an individual has filed a patent application?

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In most cases, it means no patent will ever issue and the application has gone abandoned.

Addressing some misconceptions - Filing a patent application does not "hold" an idea in any official way. What someone sells need not correspond to their patent application or granted patent at all. Patents are not the right to sell, they are the right to try to stop others.

A reasonable conclusion looking at a published application that old that doesn't have a corresponding patent, is that the application was rejected, at some point the applicant decided not to fight it and it has gone abandoned. Better than a reasonable guess is looking the application up at a corner of the USPTO site called Public PAIR. I looked this application up there and it went abandoned in 2007.

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Thank you for the information, it was very helpful. –  Medina Mom May 18 at 4:10
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Till the time patent application (or one of its family members claiming priority eg. continuation patent application) is alive, it is not recommended to manufacture or sell the product that covers features overlapping with the disclosed subject matter and claims.

In this case, parent patent application is abandoned and no other child patent application is claiming priority from this, it will be safe to manufacture or sell the product. But following points need to be checked carefully before proceeding further:

  1. Sometimes there are co-pending and multiple related patent applications (sometimes filed on same date) covering similar subject matter and different claims, it is always better to conduct search of the same inventor or applicant so as to locate any other alive patent application which might not be in the family data but claiming similar features.
  2. In case one of the family members is alive, please be aware that subject matter or claims per se in family members or continuation applications may differ. Also, granted patent may have different claims as compared to original filed patent application.
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