If I were granted a patent in a field and then it was later brought to my attention that there is a lot of prior art that would render one if not more of my claims invalid, and possibly my patent, what should I do?

In the event I asserted my patent on someone and then discovered prior art proving I patented an expired patents concept that was open for public domain use, and my claims are not novel and were obvious after all in light to the newly discovered prior art, what would be a good course if action?

Thank you.

1 Answer 1


Patent law and procedures can be subtle and a layman's analysis of your patent could be way off. After a patent is granted the applicant no longer has a duty to inform the USPTO of prior art that comes to their attention. If, after getting professional advice you decide your patent is 100% worthless you can formally disclaim it. And you wouldn't be paying your maintenance fees so it would expire before its full term.

If your claim wording can be narrowed or new claims can be crafted that would stand up then you could consider filing for a reissue or for a reexamination of your patent. In both cases you could file the prior art you think has been unearthed and amend during another examination. This could result in a narrower, or otherwise different, but solid, patent.

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