The process , or recipe, was patented 40 years ago and is still in use today at a few centers in and out of the US who still pay the Dr royalties. The patent has expired and the Dr/scientist who invented it is very elderly. I want to offer my knowledge of this process to patients on my own without my current employer who taught it to me 10 years ago. I am his nurse. I am the only one in my state with the knowledge. Can I do that? I would like to offer my service to patients to use with their existing Dr.
Most patents from 40 years ago will be expired now. But there are three points which might still forbid the usage of the process:
- Newer patents on improvements - there could still be patents for parts of the method patented later. If every part of it was known exactly like it is now 40 years ago, this is unlikly, if not, it's entirely possible.
- 40 years ago the patent term was 17 years from the date of grant - some few patents which are decades old are still in force because the grant of the patent or a continuation was delayed. It's not many, but without a thorugh search for the patent(s) in question, there's no way to tell.
- If other people are still paying royalties, chances are good there still is some right protecting the invention. After all, if all patents had lapsed, why would they be.
What to do?
- Ask others that are still paying to tell you why and which patents or other rights are relevant.
- Do a patent search for the relevant patents. Start with the name of the inventor (the dr.) and from there follow the citations and the terminology until possibly arriving at recent patents. (There are many tutorials on how to do a patent search, for example here: https://www.ecosia.org/search?q=how+to+patent+search&addon=firefox )