Boston, MA asked in Patents (Intellectual Property) for Massachusetts

Q: Inheritance and patent questions

My great grandfather was an inventor and patented at least 2 machines that I no of. I think he left the family some money

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

A: A patent that is issued is a legally a personal property, so that it can be inherited just like money, a car, or an art collection. If your great-grandfather owned patents, then it would have passed onto the appropriate heir (either by will or intestate).

The problem with inheriting patents is that they expire. If your great-grandfather filed for a patent more than 20 years ago, then there is nothing to inherit.

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