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Here it is stated that due to recent rule changes at the USPTO, patents may now be revived even after a two year period:

Is an expired patent in the public domain?

George - just for edification, they recently changed the rule to get rid of the two-year limit. See Patent Law Treaties Implementation Act of 2012, Pub. L. No. 112-211, 126 Stat. 1527; see also 35 U.S.C. § 41(c)(1). 35 U.S.C. § 27; and 37 C.F.R. 1.137. There's a good summary of this at clm.com/publication.cfm?ID=489. – HTH Aug 12 '14 at 17:22

They link to this summary: http://www.clm.com/publication.cfm?ID=489

"Recent changes to Title 35 of the U.S. Code effected by the Patent Law Treaties Implementation Act of 2012, Pub. L. No. 112-211, 126 Stat. 1527, eliminate the unavoidable standard and remove the 24-month time limit to reinstate an unintentionally abandoned patent. Now, any patent which has expired for failure to pay a maintenance fee can be revived, at any time, upon a statement that the delay in paying the maintenance fee was unintentional. 35 U.S.C. § 41(c)(1). Similarly, any patent application that has gone abandoned for an unintentional failure to file a timely response can be revived at any time. 35 U.S.C. § 27; 37 C.F.R. 1.137."

Thoughts? Ideas? Is there any case law regarding this?

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    Isn't the answer to the first part of your question given in your second link? The patent "can be revived, at any time". – Maca Apr 28 '16 at 11:15
  • @Maca The question asks about applications but the quoted text covers abandoned patents due to failure to pay fees. It would seem to be different situations. – Eric S Nov 16 '17 at 14:58
  • @EricShain It seems the last sentence of the second quote explicitly refers to applications. – Maca Nov 18 '17 at 1:43
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Please see https://www.uspto.gov/web/offices/pac/mpep/s2590.html

Your question has been posted over two years ago, the text below is posted in 2017; but depending on the time-lapse it might still be relevant

2590 Acceptance of Delayed Payment of Maintenance Fee in Expired Patent to Reinstate Patent [R-08.2017]

Of special relevance (from the URL given above): Petitions to accept unintentionally delayed payment of a maintenance fee in an expired patent, if expired for two years or less, can be processed electronically, and immediately, by the applicant using the EFS-Web version of the SB/66 form found on the USPTO forms website at www.uspto. gov/patent/patents-forms. An immediate decision regarding the petitions will be rendered. The EFS-Web version of the SB/66 form should not be used if applicant wishes the petition to be processed by the Office of Petitions.

If applicant does not want immediate processing, but would prefer to submit the petition to the Office of Petitions for processing in due course, or if the patent has been expired for more than two years, applicant should use PTO/SB/66 form found on the USPTO forms website at www.uspto. gov/patent/patents-forms.

Further, yes, an expired patent is in the public domain

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