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?
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.
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