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I have a lapsed patent which I am attempting to get reinstated via petition (SB-66: unintentional delay in payment of maintenance fees). Once I am reinstated, I will have been lapsed (unprotected) for a "gap" of what I expect will be about four months.

Now let's say someone designs or publishes an idea or builds something similar/identical to mine, and I discover this after I'm reinstated. I want to sue for infringement. Does the potential infringer have to prove they come up with their own idea/copied mine when it was in the public domain, and not before or after? Or do I have to prove their idea/published work/built item was come up with outside of the gap? Or, do I in fact have a grace period, such that if I pay my fees and reinstate before the grace period ends, my rights are restored retroactively to cover the gap?

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