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I designed a product over 10 years ago, never got it patented, a machine shop is making and selling it. They have not made any design or usage changes. Can they get a patent on it? Can I get a patent on it?

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    When you designed it 10 years ago did you sell or otherwise publicly display it? – Eric Shain Jul 12 '17 at 2:47
  • I gather from the title you have been selling it. – Eric Shain Jul 12 '17 at 14:20
  • Eric, yes, I have been selling it on my website and at trade shows for over 10 years. The machine shop that is trying to put me out of business (a spite thing), is copying it exactly and selling it as their mandrel. – Ruth Jul 13 '17 at 17:16
  • DukeZhou's answer is correct. Neither you nor your rival can patent at this point. Nor can you stop anyone from copying your product. Sorry. – Eric Shain Jul 13 '17 at 18:01
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Great question. Neither you nor the machine shop can patent it. Once the invention enters the public domain, it is no longer eligible.

"...an invention cannot be patented if...the claimed invention was patented, described in a printed publication, or in public use, on sale, or otherwise available to the public before the effective filing date of the claimed invention.
[Source: USPTO]

In the US, there is a one-year grace period from the time of public disclosure in which the inventor can file for a patent. Details as USPTO


Your best protection is to make sure the Intellectual Property is easy to find on the web, just in case someone decides to be sneaky and see if they can slip it by the review board. You may find these links useful:

Defensive publication and public domain

Availibility to the public domain

  • If op didn't publish and the shop started selling recently they might have a pending app.or use the grace period – DonQuiKong Jul 12 '17 at 11:14
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    A good answer. Perhaps you could mention the 1 year grace period in the US as part of the answer. – Eric Shain Jul 12 '17 at 14:22
  • @EricShain Thanks for the suggestion, as always. – DukeZhou Jul 12 '17 at 17:09

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