Dayton, OH asked in Copyright, Intellectual Property and Patents (Intellectual Property) for Ohio

Q: When is it safe to remake and market old patents and copyrights and what are some things to be aware of?

1 Lawyer Answer
Peter D. Mlynek
Peter D. Mlynek
  • Intellectual Property Lawyer
  • Moorestown, NJ

A: When the term of the patent or the copyright expires.

The idea of a patent is a contract between an inventor and the public, as represented by the government. The inventor discloses the invention, which is valuable to the public, to the society, and gets something in return. The inventor does not get paid by the government, but instead, the government gives the inventor the right to keep others from practicing the invention. After some time, the patent expires, and anyone can practice the invention.

Patents generally last 20 yrs from the date of filing, but there are various ways of shortening the term and a few ways that the term is extended.

Copyrights last much longer. Generally, the work passes onto public domain 70 years after the life of the author.

Good luck!

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