Is It Illegal To Announce A Patent On Something After That Patent Has Expired?

from the we'll-soon-find-out dept

I'm sure many of you have noticed on various products a notice claiming that the object was covered by some patents, or that it had "patents pending." There are legal reasons for including such notices -- and it's illegal to falsely make such claims. So what happens when the patent expires and the maker of the goods still includes the notice? We're about to find out, as a patent attorney has sued some companies who continue to list expired patents on their products, claiming that this is illegal false marking of patent rights. While there may be practical reasons (the marking process was already in place) for continuing to announce the patent, it's troublesome because it's claiming monopoly rights that the holder does not have and may scare off others from making use of a public domain concept. In this age where so many patent holders view patents as important property, it's no surprise that they have trouble letting go once the patent expires and the concept is moved into the public domain.

Filed Under: expired, patents, public domain


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  1. icon
    Steve R. (profile), 6 May 2008 @ 5:29am

    DRM Precursor

    This points to a future concern with the use of DRM technologies. When a product that was previously "protected" (restricted) by a DRM technology enters the public domain, I seriously doubt that the product itself or the manufacturer would turn off the DRM technology so that it would freely be available.

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