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My great grandfather held a patent that was created in 1929. I know the patent is expired, is it possible that the patent was passed on to somebody?

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  • Are you asking if it was assigned to another person or entity by your grandfather prior to its expiration in 1946? If so, the online recordation database only goes back to 1980. Before that, any info is in the National Archives.
    – George White
    Sep 1 at 3:36
  • The image file is here: patentimages.storage.googleapis.com/9d/5a/ba/4879b8af617dac/…. I highly doubt you could obtain the original document but it is probably held by the US government somewhere.
    – Eric S
    Sep 1 at 14:57
  • By “passed on to somebody” do you mean the original paper copy? In those days the original ribboned copy was important to physically possess, like a deed or the pink slip for your car. Companies kept them locked in vaults.To sue for infringement you brought it into court. The government won’t have it. If that’s what you're looking for.
    – George White
    Sep 1 at 15:03
  • @GeorgeWhite Interesting! Didn’t know that.
    – Eric S
    Sep 1 at 18:28
  • Apparently this is still the case. From a patent firms website "The patent owner should consider keeping their Ribbon Copy in a safe, identifiable location (like a locking file cabinet) and not circulating it among anyone (even inventors) for display. This is due to the cost and difficulty of obtaining a replacement (see next section on Duplicate Ribbon Copies). Further, the patent owner should document the storage process and maintain an inventory of Ribbon Copies to help in the event of a loss (for example, a fire or flood)." and "It is also self-authenticating at trial."
    – George White
    Sep 1 at 22:53
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By “passed on to somebody” do you mean the original paper copy? In those days, and even now to a lesser extent, the original ribboned copy was important to physically possess, like a deed or the pink slip for your car. Companies kept them locked in vaults.To sue for infringement you brought it into court. The original can still be important “self authenticating” evidence at trial.

We will not be able to locate that original document. The USPTO has an Office of Recordation were transfers of latent ownership can be filed. On that site it says records before 1980 are in the National Archives. If rights were assigned the ribboned copy should have gone to the new owner. Since it has been worthless since 1946 it may have been disposed of.

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