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Why would somebody allow such a valuable patent as USP6293874 to lapse for non-payment of maintenance fees?

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The fee payment company may have forgot to pay the fee. If the lapse in maintenance fee payment is unintentional then it could be paid late without intervening rights. –  Kevin Jun 19 at 20:47
    
Considering the invention, I think the OP was being facetious. However to be sure there is no misunderstanding interviewing rights kick in after the 6 months grace period. This one missed a payment in 2005. From the MPEP "No patent, the term of which has been maintained as a result of the acceptance of a late payment of a maintenance fee, shall abridge or affect the right of any person or his or her successors in business who made, purchased, imported, or used after the 6-month grace period but prior to the acceptance of the late maintenance fee anything protected by the patent, . . . " –  George White Jun 19 at 22:29

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