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22

One problem with our patent system is that it is actually somewhat difficult to figure out whether a patent is still in force. There are a few steps that get usually you to the answer: If it is a design patent, then the patent remains in force for 14-years from the patent issue date. Case closed. Edit: Since May 13, 2015, the term for a design patent is 15 ...


17

In the US, software patents are same as normal patents. However there is another type of patent called the design patent which is for industrial designs. User Interfaces can be protected by design patents e.g., this one here is for Facebook's UI. To answer the question, in the US - patent / software patent: as per, 35 USC § 154(a)(2) is 20 years, (subject ...


12

No, there is no way that is quick and inexpensive. Patents are presumed valid and the least difficult way to try to knock one down is an ex parte reexamination. Anyone can file a request based on submitting published documents and an explanation as to how they apply to which claims, and $6000. The patent office gets 3 months to decide if there is a "...


11

Patent term -- skip to the end for a link to download a term calculator from the USPTO.-- At the Uruguay round of GATT in 1994 the U. S. agreed to change the term of utility and plant applications from 17 years from grant to 20 years from filing. This took effect for applications filed on or after June 8, 1995 However it is more complicated than that. ...


9

My idea was to create an online system which allows defendants which are accused of patent infringement to find other defendants in the same situation, being sued or threatened to be sued. This would allow several defendants to combine resources and take down some of the patent trolls. Perhaps it could be an addition to this awesome website! Crowdfunding ...


8

Two or three issues involved with this. A patent that expired due to non-payment of maintance fee can be revived by petition as either unintentional or unavoidable. Unintentional has a two-year limit and unavoidable is very hard to establish. Only the patent owner can file these, not just anyone who comes along. Even if revived there are intervening rights (...


8

Let us consider a sample patent family lifecycle, beginning in 2009. 1 Jan 2009: Provisional application PROV1 is filed. A provisional doesn't really have a term, since it never becomes a patent. However, after 12 months it is no longer useful for claiming priority/benefit. We can therefore say it expires after 12 months (on 1 Jan 2010). PROV1 therefore (...


5

Making and offering for sale are also on the list of things one can't do. Designing is ok but testing prototypes might be making and using. If the patent owner is agreeable you could negotiate a non-exclusive license for a single payment fixed amount to make and use but not to offer for sale or sell (until it expired). Or a license (exclusive or not ...


5

If you look in http://portal.uspto.gov/external/portal/pair (enter the number without the "US" and "B1") as "Patented case" and the next fee payment window closes on 11/27/2013. The patent is valid. You will also be able to see that it had quite a stormy path to its acceptance which resulted in a certificate of correction. If the maintenance fee is paid, ...


5

US20120221930 is a pending application - not a granted patent. It has a lengthy history as set out at the beginning of the description: "This application is a continuation of co-pending U.S. patent application Ser. No. 12/628,465, filed on Dec. 1, 2009, which claims priority under 35 U.S.C. §120 as a continuation of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/446,...


5

Patent damages may be limited in a variety of ways. 35 U.S.C. § 286 provides for a “running” period limiting recovery of damages to no more than six years before commencement of a cause of action for infringement. 35 U.S.C. § 286 Time limitation on damages Except as otherwise provided by law, no recovery shall be had for any infringement committed ...


5

You can find the patent status and validity on the USPTO Public Pair site. Enter the patent number (without the US, or B2). The "Patent Term Adjustments" tab shows the applicable dates, in this case: Filing or 371(c) Date: 08-11-2004 Issue Date of Patent: 06-06-2006 and also Total PTA Adjustments: 162 As this is an "old" application, it ...


4

Check the unpatent.co website. It's a platform for crowdfunding of campaigns against malicious patents. Also check Unified Patents.


4

A patent has a term of twenty years from the date of its first filing. It should be noted that once these twenty years are over, a patent is no longer in force. However, there are certain scenarios where a patent has "lapsed" or "ceased to have effect" or “expired” even before its 20 years term, due to non-payment of annuity/maintenance fee associated with ...


3

The patent application was filed on June 7, 1995 and issued on April 8, 1997. US patents issuing from patent applications filed on or after June 8, 1995 have a term of 20 years from the earliest non-provisional patent application priority date. US patents issuing from patent applications filed prior to June 8, 1995 have a term equal to the greater of 17 ...


3

To add to Mr. White's answer, there is also inter partes reexamination, in which you can actively participate in the process. Cost is higher, and each new submission requires additional fees. Also, "another few thousand to get it done professionally" is a bit low. :-) I suppose you could find someone to do the filing for cheap, but really, to do it ...


3

If the patent was issued in the mid 1900's, then the patent is long expired. No one can "take over" the patent because the patent information is now in the public domain and free for everyone to use.


3

Software as such are potentially patentable. However there is quite some limitations to this, even in the US. See for a related question that has been answered here:Can I patent a new internet based game which doesn't exist already? It is as you say there will be issues with copyright and this expires generally 70 years after the death of the author. ...


3

I agree with chempatent1981's answer on the expiry. I shall therefore focus on the when damages might be due. You have used the term "royalty period". However, as far as I know, that is not really a widely used term. Perhaps a more common description would be the period during which actionable infringement may occur. There are three periods in which "...


3

It doesn't matter for the old patent. Improvements not described are not protected (unless encompassed in the old claims if they are broad). You can file a new application and the old one would be prior art. The patent system only cares about whats in your final application, not about what your actually build. It only protects whats in the granted claims, ...


3

The epo doesn't use the name continuation and the concepts are somewhat different. What you can do however: You can file a new application claiming priority within one year of the first filing and introduce new subject matter there. The new matter will have the new priority date and the old matter will have the old priority date. You can also file a ...


2

You've probably heard of a statute of limitations in a criminal law context, well, the same applies in patent law. Patents, like many causes of actions based in contracts, have a 6 year statute of limitations. Now what does that mean. If a patent is infringed while it is enforceable i.e. before it expires, the patent owner can sue the infringer up to 6 ...


2

I don't know about the first question, but the second is no. Calculating a patent term can be complicated, but assuming the maintenance fees were paid, etc., there's no reason it should have expired in 2007.


2

A patent cannot be "re-patented" once it has completed its lifespan. Patents are granted to inventors of new things. Once published, whatever the patent describes is "old" from then on. The actual expiration date may be different from exactly 20 years, processing time and/or other extensions to its term may be applicable. The USPTO Public PAIR site will ...


2

Patents often build on existing technology, which of course includes existing patents. Of course, the invention has to be novel, so simply describing it more accurately isn't good enough if the new invention is the same as the old. A refinement on an existing patent is patentable, but only if it wouldn't be obvious to someone skilled in that type of ...


2

It is important to remember that a patent does not give anybody the right to do what the patent covers. For example, if I had a patent on a more effective delivery system for MDMA or LSD, having a patent doesn't change the fact that those drugs are considered Schedule 1 and illegal under almost every circumstance -- meaning that my delivery system couldn't ...


2

If you're sure that the patent has really expired, then the specific invention in the patent is no longer patent-protected, so the patent holder can't sue over it. However, make sure of this, because figuring out when a patent has really expired can be complicated. Additionally, keep in mind that patents can overlap, which means that even if that one ...


2

You have it basically right. First an application is submitted and it gets an application number and a tentative filing date. Over the next few weeks it is checked by administrative people for conformance and completeness with respect to formal requirements. They are not looking at content other then that the minimum requirements are met. These include ...


2

The issue is not publicized but published. Technically anything posted on the internet that is reliably dateable and is an "enabling" discloser is prior art that should keep someone from getting a patent on that subject matter. However, if the patent examiner does not come across it in their search it wouldn't factor in to the prosecution of the patent ...


2

US 5278057 has expired (it would have had no effect past January 2010 even if the maintenance fees were paid, due to the terminal disclaimer). The EP application was never patented. Update This was the correct answer, but I wanted to add the following additional information about the Legal Events, as well as information on a second grant issued from the ...


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