Q: if there is a patent on a toy and we want to use the said toy as part of a game, do we need to obtain licenxing rights?

I look at it like taking a patent like dice and using it for a game. Is that legal in that case because the patent has long expired?

2 Lawyer Answers
Peter D. Mlynek
Peter D. Mlynek
Answered
  • Patents Lawyer
  • Moorestown, NJ

A: If you want to sell a game that has a toy in it, and the toy is patented, then you would be infringing the patent. You can't get around a patent to a product by adding more stuff to the product.

You'll likely need to obtain a license, or buy the toy from the toy maker.

Kevin E. Flynn
Kevin E. Flynn
PREMIUM
Answered
  • Patents Lawyer
  • Chapel Hill, NC

A: If the patent on the toy is expired, then you are free to use what is taught in the patent. You may want to check to see if there are any subsequent design patents on the toy as a design patent is narrow in that it covers the ornamental appearance of an object. Thus, a design patent could be issued on a particular way to make the toy look, long after a broad patent on how the toy operates has expired.

Likewise, the people that filed the original toy patent may have filed subsequent patents on improvements to the way the toy operates. The Bell patent for the telephone is more than 100 years old and people are still improving the telephone.

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