Salisbury, MD asked in Patents (Intellectual Property) for Maryland

Q: After the twenty year period is there any means to use the patent or seek interest in ones US patent#4,784,433?

Is the patent worthless?

1 Lawyer Answer
Kevin E. Flynn
Kevin E. Flynn
  • Patents Lawyer
  • Pittsboro, NC

A: An expired patent cannot be used to obtain royalties or to block the actions of others. But the patent is not worthless. It has been added to the body of knowledge of people. This was part of the deal for obtaining a limited period of exclusivity. The patent may be used to help teach others how to make and use the invention described within that application. The expired patent may be used by a patent examiner to show that a new application is just a minor tweak on an old idea and should not burden others as the new application is not truly inventive.

NOTE -- while 20 years is a good rule of thumb, there are a number of reasons what a patent may live longer than the 20 years such as Patent Term Adjustment. So you may want to confirm that the patent of interest to you expired at the 20 year mark.

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.