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In reference to the patent: US 4,915,276 A

Is this patent still owned by Ermin Devito or somebody else?

If it is, how can it be re-claimed by him or his family?

  • Just out of curiosity, is there something specific that prompted this question (a recent article or something) that gave you the idea to attempt to revive the patent? There have been several cases of this type of question lately (at least three or four in the last two months), and I'm just trying to figure out if there is a reason for the sudden increase in these questions here. – vallismortis Nov 14 '15 at 14:34
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This patent was originally assigned to Ermin Devito of Green Brook, New Jersey, and was never reassigned (see USPTO Assignment database). However, a note from the USPTO database:

Disclaimer: Assignment information on the assignment database reflects assignment documents that have been actually recorded. If the assignment for a patent was not recorded, the name of the assignee on the patent application publication or patent may be different. If you have any comments or questions concerning the data displayed, contact OPR / Assignments at 571-272-3350

If you check the Legal Status (via Google Patents or USPTO Public Pair), you will find:

Date           Code  Event Description
Apr 27, 1993   FPAY  Fee payment    
                     Year of fee payment: 4
Feb 13, 1998   REMI  Maintenance fee reminder mailed    
Apr 12, 1998   LAPS  Lapse for failure to pay maintenance fees  
Jun 23, 1998   FP    Expired due to failure to pay maintenance fee  
                     Effective date: 19980415

This patent expire on April 15, 1998 because the second maintenance fee was not paid. Occasionally, (in very limited circumstances) it is possible to revive a patent by paying the back maintenance fees, but it has been far too long, and the patent would have expired on April 10, 2004 anyway. Any attempt to revive it would need to be done as a petition directly to the USPTO.

I suppose that, if infringement were found during the enforceable period of the patent (September 22, 1988 to April 15, 1998), then some action could have been taken. However, it has been almost 20 years since then, and the assignee would have had (maybe) up to a few years after expiration to enforce it. This is just speculation though, because the invention is now considered to be Public Domain due to the amount of time that has passed.

If you are interested in the history of this patent, you can find additional information in the USPTO Public Pair database.

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