Asked in Patents (Intellectual Property)

Q: If a patent is filed in 2015,Published in 2017, how do i see if the patent is still active ? it only shows application

I am looking over an idea i have and see there is a patent similar to mine but it is showing Only an application number. The application number is dated from 2017.How do i know if i can go ahead and file my idea for patent without it encroaching on the current application number? Is there a time limit on the application number before it stops being protected by the patent system? If a patent is published but not completed or abandoned by the inventor is it removed from the patent system or will it just stay there for information only ?

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

A: To see if a patent has been granted on a published application that you know of, there are two common ways of checking: (1) you can search the patent database for that patent application, by the publication number, patent application number, inventor names, etc.; or (2) you can look at the prosecution history of the patent application, to determine what exactly happened to the patent application.

With regards to your other questions, I think that you are misunderstanding the patent system. If your competitor had a patent application, and could not get a patent for whatever reason on this application (or any other application claiming priority to that application), then whatever is in the publication of the application is dedicated to the public. This means that anyone can use whatever is disclosed in the publication, with respect to the patent applicant.

This means that if your competitor abandoned the application, you cannot go and claim it for yourself. You can't get a patent on the same invention. The invention belongs to the public. You can use the technology disclosed in the patent application for your business, but you cannot keep others from using it.

What you could do is to make improvements on your competitor's invention, and get a patent on that improvement.

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