Los Angeles, CA asked in Patents (Intellectual Property) for Colorado

Q: My sister & I would like to learn if we may have royalties from our father Russell W. Walters' patents.

Many of our Dad's patents are being used & manufactured. We have original blue prints, etc to prove our Dad's patented designs. There is a company called Esmet in Canton, OH manufacturing his high security devices. I designed the Tufloc logo for my Dad's devices & company in aprox.1970. Dad passed in 2001 & we can't help thinking we should have rights to royalties for possibly many patents & applications of his security devices, etc.

1 Lawyer Answer
Peter D. Mlynek
Peter D. Mlynek
  • Patents Lawyer
  • Moorestown, NJ

A: Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but there is likely not much that you can do. A couple of notes:

(1) The point of a patent is to give the inventor the right to exclude others for a limited time. Thus, if your father obtained a patent for his invention in the 1970s, the patent has expired by now. Anyone now is able to make the same device that your father patented.

(2) If the company copied your father's patented device, without his permission, he could have sued. The problem now is that the statute of limitations in your state likely expired.

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