In reference to the patent: US1594978 I'd like to know, if the such patent is still covered by the copyright laws and, then, if its replicability is still allowed for the development of similar products (i.e. a new pen for a different market). In addition, I also would like to know if a pen based on this patent can be be sumbitted for an original patent grant simply citing the one mentioned. If I remember good, the validity of patents ranges from 10 to 20 years. Any suggestion or clue is really welcomed.

1 Answer 1


I find your question a bit confusing. Patents and copyrights are different types of intellectual property. Asking if a patent is still covered by copyright makes no sense. Patents protect inventions. In return for making public how the invention works, you get a limited period of exclusive use (typically 20 years from the filing date). You need to apply for patents and they need to be approved by the government. Copyrights protect original works like books, recordings, art and films. You don't need to apply for copyrights although you can register them. I encourage you to review the articles in Wikipedia about patents and copyrights to learn more.

The cited patent patent probably expired in 1943. You can safely make and sell the exact pencil described in it. Not only in a different market, but even the same market. What you can't do is submit a new patent based on it. Once the technology described in a patent expires, it becomes available to everyone and anyone. You can't own it. If you make an improvement to the device and that improvement is itself useful and novel, you may be able to patent the improvement. You should however make yourself aware of other relevant patents when designing your own product to make sure there aren't other patents still in effect that must be avoided.

  • Could you elaborate this further? Your answer is correct and imho adresses the right topics, but I think it might be a bit confusing for the OP who apparently doesn't know the basics of intellectual property (which is nothing to be ashamed off nor meant to shame him/her) - or you could cite some basic articles/explanations or thelike.
    – user18033
    Jan 16, 2017 at 18:53
  • @DonQuiKong I attempted to elaborate my answer as you suggested. If you have any other thoughts please suggest away. Feel free to make any minor edits too.
    – Eric S
    Jan 16, 2017 at 23:50
  • I think now it's clearer. You could mention the copyright on the patent text (if you want), but I don't think that's what Op wanted to know about anyways, though it was the first thing coming to my mind while reading the question.
    – user18033
    Jan 17, 2017 at 7:09
  • DonQuiKong & Eric Shan, thanks for your precious answers. I onlestly have to say that all your posts have answred to my question, and now I have a bit more clear what I can do for my project and what I can do starting from the technology contained in the above mentioned patent. Anyway, if you have any other useful resources to read (i.e. articles, websites, etc.), please feel free to share them. I apreciate really much the time you've spent to reply to my post. Have a nice day. Best!
    – user18313
    Jan 17, 2017 at 7:53
  • @user18313. If you find the answer acceptable, it would be great if you would accept it by clicking the check icon.
    – Eric S
    Jan 17, 2017 at 9:42

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