Patents (Intellectual Property) Questions & Answers by State

Patents (Intellectual Property) Questions & Answers

Q: how is it that during my patent search I am finding patent applications for items that have existed for years?

2 Answers | Asked in Patents (Intellectual Property) for North Carolina on
Answered on Dec 18, 2018
Peter D. Mlynek's answer
Because they are for some new improvements to the treestands or tree climbing sticks. Remember, it is not only new products that you can get a parent on, but also on IMPROVEMENTS to existing products.

Telephones, golf clubs, bicycles, and like, have also been around for over 100 years, but there is always some improvement that companies can patent.

Q: How can I challenge a patent that I never received credit for?

2 Answers | Asked in Patents (Intellectual Property) for Illinois on
Answered on Dec 16, 2018
Peter D. Mlynek's answer
I am not sure what you mean that you never received credit. I assume that your question is similar to the questions asked by so many scientists and engineers working as an employee or a contractor: you worked on developing a new product for the company, the company got a patent on the invention that is related to the new product, but your name is not listed on the patent as the inventor.

It is extremely important that the correct contributors are listed on the patent as inventors....

Q: What does the issue date of patent mean? And how can I find out when a patent expires?

2 Answers | Asked in Patents (Intellectual Property) for New Jersey on
Answered on Dec 16, 2018
Peter D. Mlynek's answer
The issue date, also known as the grant date, is the date at which the patent becomes enforceable. After that time, the patent owner can prevent others from making, selling, or using the claimed invention.

Regarding when a patent expires, this is probably the most common question in patent law. The answer used to be simple: 17 years from the issue date. Now, unfortunately, it is no longer easy to figure it out. The expiration date is not printed anywhere on the patent, and you...

Q: Is there a way to get a patent issued if I failed to file within the year of getting a provisional patent?

2 Answers | Asked in Intellectual Property and Patents (Intellectual Property) for Massachusetts on
Answered on Dec 15, 2018
Peter D. Mlynek's answer
That is a very common question. Many times inventors get side-tracked, or funding dries up, or they simply forget.

The good news is that provisional patent applications are not published, so once the provisional patent application expires and is not used as a priority document, it is as if it never existed in the first place. So yes, you can file another patent application, identical, or similar to the provisional patent application.

The bad news is that you are going to reset...

Q: If I defaulted on a land contract, but seller does not have a land patent, can the seller officially order forfeiture

1 Answer | Asked in Contracts, Mergers & Acquisitions, Patents (Intellectual Property) and Real Estate Law for Michigan on
Answered on Dec 10, 2018
Brent T. Geers' answer
What do you mean by land patent? If the father owned the land (e.g. his name is on the deed), and the son is now enforcing that contract as personal representative of the estate, I see no reason why they cannot foreclosure.

Q: Can I reopen this patent

1 Answer | Asked in Patents (Intellectual Property) for Arizona on
Answered on Dec 9, 2018
Kevin E. Flynn's answer
There are a lot of fees in the process. However, if the fee that you mean is the periodic maintenance fee to keep an issued patent from expiring, you may be in luck.

Many new patent owners forget to pay this fee. If the failure to pay this fee was unintentional as you forgot that you needed to do this, then the USPTO is pretty forgiving. If the deadline for payment was within 2 years, the petition when filed electronically can be automatically granted. If you are a micro-entity,...

Q: How can a patent be issued to one inventor using 2 parent and 1 child patent with two inventors listed?

2 Answers | Asked in Patents (Intellectual Property) for Michigan on
Answered on Dec 6, 2018
Peter D. Mlynek's answer
This is a common question. A couple of points:

(1) It is essential that the correct contributors get listed as inventors. You can't have any more, or any less, or different, people listed as inventors. If wrong people are listed as inventors, the patent may be invalid and not enforceable. This is not like writing an academic paper where the authors are may be included or excluded for business or career reasons.

(2) Determining who is an inventor can be sometimes a little...

Q: If an application was submitted but a patent was never granted, is there a way to use said application w/ modifications?

2 Answers | Asked in Patents (Intellectual Property) for Florida on
Answered on Dec 5, 2018
Peter D. Mlynek's answer
This happens all the time. If it is not granted, and there is no likelihood of it being granted, then whatever is disclosed in the patent application is dedicated to the public. Anyone can use whatever is in the published application with or without modifications.

Q: Is there any way to transfer ownership of an existing patent to someone else?

1 Answer | Asked in Patents (Intellectual Property) for Florida on
Answered on Dec 4, 2018
Kevin E. Flynn's answer
Yes. Ownership rights to a patent can be transferred by an assignment. Partial rights can be transferred by license.

Assignments should be recorded at the USPTO at Prior recorded transfers can be seen at for patent applications that have issued as patents or at least published as applications.

An attorney should draw up the assignment but it is a standard activity as the assignments from inventors to...

Q: What are the implications of unknowingly using a sub-component in your design that has violated a patent?

1 Answer | Asked in Patents (Intellectual Property) for Illinois on
Answered on Dec 3, 2018
Kevin E. Flynn's answer
Short answer is yes, you have exposure.

35 USC Section 271a states -- Except as otherwise provided in this title, whoever without authority makes, uses, offers to sell, or sells any patented invention, within the United States or imports into the United States any patented invention during the term of the patent therefor, infringes the patent .

Assuming for the minute that the power supply infringes the patent, your supplier is...

Q: Can I get a patent on that?

2 Answers | Asked in Intellectual Property and Patents (Intellectual Property) on
Answered on Dec 2, 2018
Peter D. Mlynek's answer
Yes, you can get a patent on your invention if the invention is a new business method. It may not be easy though.

As far as your second question goes, the answer is no. You will need to find money to pay for the patent application fees and for the patent attorney fees. You can take a mortgage against your house, have family or friends or other investors loan you money, etc. Here is the problem: even though I would not mind deferring the payments until after your business starts...

Q: Hi, keen to know if patents have a validity period and when do they expire or can one register a product patent for life

2 Answers | Asked in Patents (Intellectual Property) on
Answered on Dec 1, 2018
Peter D. Mlynek's answer
A patent is generally valid for 20 years from the time that you apply for it. So if you ask a patent attorney to prepare a patent application and file it in December 2018, the application will get issued as a patent sometime in 2020 to 2023, and the patent will expire in Dec 2038.

Q: I have an aluminum foil idea but is it already patented? Or am I allowed to find a manufacturer with my new addition..

1 Answer | Asked in Patents (Intellectual Property) for California on
Answered on Nov 29, 2018
Kevin E. Flynn's answer
It sounds like you need to do some searching to see if your new idea is already the subject of an issued patent or a pending application that has been published but not yet allowed. If I am right, then you may want to look at my slide set on patent searching.

You may want to follow up with having a professional search done but it is a good idea to do some initial searching for low hanging fruit so you do not pay for a search when it would be easy to find...

Q: Please help me with following patent for a foam water squirting toy: US7571837B2 by Prime Time Toys Ltd.

3 Answers | Asked in Copyright, Intellectual Property and Patents (Intellectual Property) on
Answered on Nov 29, 2018
Kevin E. Flynn's answer
A product does not infringe the title of a patent, or the abstract, or the drawings and the specification. To be within the scope of the patent owner's ability to exclude, the product needs to infringe at least one claim in a patent that is still in force.

So the first step is to ensure that the patent has not lapsed. You can see my answers to other questions so see how to determine whether a patent is still in force.

Getting back to the claims, to understand what is in a...

Q: Can I patent a mouthwash made w/ over-the-counter ingredients offering no health claims other than fresh breath?

1 Answer | Asked in Copyright, Health Care Law, Intellectual Property and Patents (Intellectual Property) for New York on
Answered on Nov 27, 2018
Peter D. Mlynek's answer
Yes, this is done all the time. Your patent would be a formulation patent. The majority of patents that I write are formulation patents.

A couple of notes:

(1) The biggest problem that you need to overcome is the obviousness rejection. You can't just take known ingredients, mix them up to make a new mouthwash, and get a patent on it. There must be some sort of unexpected results, such as synergistic effects.

(2) You are going to have to come up with some hard-core...

Q: Is there a way to get in touch with Jay schake regarding patent 6227192

1 Answer | Asked in Patents (Intellectual Property) on
Answered on Nov 27, 2018
Kevin E. Flynn's answer
The USPTO lists the correspondence address for this patent as Jay Schake, 2377 Old Tavern Rd. Powhatan, VA 23139

It is possible that this address is no longer current and Mr. Schake did not update the USPTO. But that is a start.

I hope this helps.

Kevin E Flynn

Q: if patent number 9402810 has ended, can use this patent without license?

1 Answer | Asked in Patents (Intellectual Property) on
Answered on Nov 26, 2018
Kevin E. Flynn's answer
United States Patent No. 9,402,810 for Pouch Containing Nicotine in Free Salt Form was issued on August 2, 2016. On the USPTO PAIR system, I do not see any indication that this patent has lapsed or been terminated.

The more general answer is that one does not need a license to use the contents of a patent once the patent has lapsed after a full term, or lapsed early for failure to renew the patent with a maintenance fee payment, or been declared invalid or unenforceable by a court,...

Q: Iam from India. Can I use a tech patented in US?

1 Answer | Asked in Copyright and Patents (Intellectual Property) on
Answered on Nov 24, 2018
Kevin E. Flynn's answer
A United States patent gives the owner the right to prohibit use of the patented technology within the US. That includes making, using, selling, or offering to sell. So a US patent prohibits someone from making something in Canada and selling it in the US or making it in the US and selling it in Canada.

If you are going to make use of this technology in India, then a US patent is irrelevant unless you plan to export to the US. There may be a parallel patent in India as there are...

Q: Am I allowed to patent an ingredient in a recipe my bakery business manufactured?

1 Answer | Asked in Patents (Intellectual Property) for California on
Answered on Nov 19, 2018
Peter D. Mlynek's answer
The ingredient itself, as opposed to the recipe? Yes, you should be able to, provided, of course, that it is new. If you, for example, came up with a new type of a shortening, or new crystalline form of some sugar, etc. then it should be patentable.

You are facing two hurdles, though. You have to make sure that the ingredient is really new.

If, for example, it is some composition that nobody used in cooking before, but it was already known, then you won't be able to get a...

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