Grand Blanc, MI asked in Patents (Intellectual Property) for Michigan

Q: Can you produce/make an item that has a patent after 20 years ? The inventor is deceased & his sons won't care.

2 Lawyer Answers
Michael Zamzow
Michael Zamzow
  • Grand Rapids, MI
  • Licensed in Michigan

A: Contact an intellectual property law firm about this.

Patents expire 20 years after the earliest date of filing, but sometimes there are patent term adjustments that extend that period.

Brent T. Geers agrees with this answer

Sarita L. Pickett
Sarita L. Pickett
  • Patents Lawyer
  • Manchester, NH

A: Despite the passing of the original inventor, it's possible that the patent was assigned to a corporation that would very much care. There are also often times improvement patents (continuation-in-part, divisional, or simply later filed applications) which build on an original parent patent. So even if the original patent had expired, that would not mean that you were in the clear. I would highly recommend finding an attorney who has experience with "Freedom-to-operate" searches and "Due Diligence" reports.

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