Jacksonville, FL asked in Copyright, Products Liability and Patents (Intellectual Property) for Florida

Q: I manufacture a simple/basic toilet seat cover. Is it safe to manufacture without violating any patents.

2 Lawyer Answers
Peter D. Mlynek
Peter D. Mlynek
  • Intellectual Property Lawyer
  • Moorestown, NJ

A: If you are making something that has been around 20+ years, then you very likely will not infringe any patents. After all, that is the idea behind patents: after a patent expires (currently 20 years from the filing date of the patent application), then anyone can use whatever is disclosed in the patent.

However, if the toilet seat cover is somehow new, something that you've come up with, or something that you've seen elsewhere and decided to copy it, then you should be concerned. You may need patent attorney's help to sort it out.

Good luck!

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

A: I agree with the first answer.

To further reduce your risks you can go to a plumbing supply store and look at the toilet seat covers. To the extent that any are marked with a patent, take a photo with your phone and look up that patent later. The manufacturers are apt to put their patent number on the product or the material that wraps the product or they risk losing the rights to seek damages.

You can also do some other searching using free tools and tips from my slide set at http://bit.ly/Patent_Searching.

Thanks for trying to do the right thing and stay clear of patents.

Kevin E Flynn

Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.

The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.

Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.