Q: Is the patent still valid and can someone build this system outside USA?
A: A United States Patent Applies to the United States.
A United States Patent applies to actions in the United States. So making a product in China and importing to the US would be covered. Also making a product in the US and exporting to Canada would be covered.
However, a product made in China could be sold into Canada as long as it does not pass through the US on the way to Canada.
Many companies seek patents in other countries that match the patent that they have in their home country. So it is possible that there are similar patents on this product in other countries. You can sometimes find related patents by looking for details on patent families in a system like Patentscope at WIPO. But this is not foolproof as there may have been parallel filings which might not show up as family members. Best bet is to ask a patent attorney in the country of interest to see if there is an analogous patent. The patent attorney can look by title, inventor, assignee, and use other tricks.
If you found this answer helpful, you may want to look at my answers to other questions about patent law are available at the bottom of my profile page at
Kevin E Flynn
A: The question of whether a patent is valid can be a little more involved than expected -- depending. Generally, a utility patent is active for 20 years after the patent was filed. There are exceptions, which include: term adjustments or extensions; terminal disclaimers; an effective filing date from previous application; or lack of payment of maintenance fees.
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