Suppose I own a patent that has not expired. How do I legally and reliably transfer it to the public domain?

  • Is the patent perhaps about software? – Eric Shain Dec 11 '19 at 17:36
  • I'm asking this question on theoretical grounds more than anything. Would the process transferring to the public domain be different for a patent on software vs a patent on something else? – Alex Williams Dec 11 '19 at 18:27
  • I attempted an answer. I thought I read about a collection of open sourced software patents somewhere that you might be able to add to, but haven't found it. – Eric Shain Dec 11 '19 at 19:22

I really know nothing about this. However after a bit of searching I did find the concept of "Patentleft" which seems to be an open source license for patents. Here is the Wikipedia page which is unfortunately brief. I also found the Open Invention Network which seems to be targeting patents related to Linux specifically. Lastly, this paper seems particularly relevant but is too long to summarize here.

  • Thank you for your comment. It doesn't quite answer my question, but it's good information. – Alex Williams Dec 12 '19 at 7:48

You dont pay the fees and let it lapse or explicitly abandon it. Why would you pay for a right to forbid others from using your invention if that's not what you want to do?

  • I guess OP wants to give up on any patent life that he is currently entitled to. Maybe OP has to wait few years because the patent lapses considering when the renewal fees are due in the US. – the Europeist Dec 12 '19 at 6:40
  • I'm interested in forming a legal agreement. A stipulation for the other party is that if they violate the terms of the agreement, they will transfer a patent into the public domain. So, it's necessary that I know what are the requirements for them to actually do that. – Alex Williams Dec 12 '19 at 7:15
  • Abandoning the patent will do just fine – DonQuiKong Dec 12 '19 at 16:46

It is possible to file paperwork with the patent office to disclaim all or some claims of a patent. I do not think there is a form for this. IBM famously disclaimed US6329919B1 System and method for providing reservations for restroom use. I would link to a copy of the disclaimer they filed but the application is old enough that the image file wrapper is not on line in PUBLIC PAIR.

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