For example, the enforcement of patent US4103235 - Two-tone attention signal broadcasting system;

From the inventor:

Because this patent pertained to public safety, I chose to never enforce it. It was effectively a gift.

Was there a more direct way to indicate the patent would never be enforced?


Yes. The owner can file a disclaimer with the USPTO. See this page at the patent office.

It says:

37 C.F.R. 1.321 Statutory disclaimers, including terminal disclaimers.

37 C.F.R. 1.321 Statutory disclaimers, including terminal disclaimers.(a) A patentee owning the whole or any sectional interest in a patent may disclaim any complete claim or claims in a patent. In like manner any patentee may disclaim or dedicate to the public the entire term, or any terminal part of the term, of the patent granted. Such disclaimer is binding upon the grantee and its successors or assigns. A notice of the disclaimer is published in the Official Gazette and attached to the printed copies of the specification. The disclaimer, to be recorded in the Patent and Trademark Office, must:

(1) be signed by the patentee, or an attorney or agent of record;

(2) identify the patent and complete claim or claims, or term being disclaimed. A disclaimer which is not a disclaimer of a complete claim or claims, or term, will be refused recordation;

(3) state the present extent of patentee’s ownership interest in the patent; and

(4) be accompanied by the fee set forth in § 1.20(d).

  • Interesting. So could this be a solution to this issue? Avoid the possibility of a future patent? Essentially, could someone patent an idea to ostensibly keep it from ever (legally) being protected? Feb 13 '13 at 21:23
  • Someone who wants to dedicate IP to the public could do this. It shouldn't take going quite so far. A published application that is abandoned puts all of its teachings on record in a away that is just about as findable by an examiner as an issued patent. It is the teachings that should prevent future anticipated or obvious patents from being granted. Being issued would give a presumption of being enabled which would be a plus in achieving your goal.
    – George White
    Feb 13 '13 at 22:47

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