Re: Searching for documents - Patent Applications #general

David Schreiber


I was a patent examiner for 4 years. I saw that your question about the
length of patents was not answered. Currently, a patent is valid for 20
years >from the data of filing. It used to be 17 years >from the date of issue.

Patent applications must now be published, I believe, after 18 months >from
the filing date, whether or not it is ever issued. I was an examiner >from
1992 to 1996 and worked for the USPTO (US Patent and Trademark Office for a
total of nearly 14 years. Prior to the requirement that patent applications
be published, patent applications were kept confidential whether or not
they were ever issued. Removal of confidentiality only applied in certain
circumstances. I don't know if this was the policy when your relatives got
into their dispute.

As to a patent application's or patent's utility in genealogy, a patent
application is useless in its confidentiality period. A published patent
application or issued patent is a wealth of information. It provides the
names of all individuals considered to have contributed sufficiently enough
to the patent and its invention to be considered inventors. It also
contains the name of the person or company to whom the invention has been
assigned, so you might know for whom your relatives worked or to whom they
sold their invention and when this event occurred. It also tells you in
what city and state or foreign country your relative lived at the time of
filing the application. Hope this helps.

David Schreiber
Melbourne, FL

On 14/07/2012, at 03:24, Jan Fine <janrandyfine@...> wrote:
Can anyone shed light on patent applications - specifically, are there
searchable records, how far back do these records go, and how long is
the period under which a patent is protected? Does it make sense to
anyone else that a patent application might actually be beneficial to
someone doing family genealogy?

Join to automatically receive all group messages.