Can I get a patent on an old abandoned patent? 3 Answers as of October 18, 2010

I already applied for a provisional patent before I discovered this. But I found a very similar patent for my product from 1977. It shows up as abandoned. What does this mean? Can I apply for a patent now because it has been 20 years?

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Mark S. Hubert PC
Mark S. Hubert PC | Mark Hubert
No. You have to be the original inventor. However yours may differ in its novel points from the abandoned patent.
Answer Applies to: Oregon
Replied: 10/18/2010
Kafantaris Law Group
Kafantaris Law Group | Theo Kafantaris
Unfortunately, the old patent will be considered prior art against your invention. Remember that provisional patents are not examined, and you would have to file a utility patent for this to even become an issue.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 10/15/2010
Devon & Associates
Devon & Associates | Marcia A. Devon
No, you cannot apply for a patent because it has been 20 years since an application was abandoned. "Abandoned" means the applicant(s) of patent application did not respond to the U.S. Patent Office for a variety of reasons. I recommend you explain to a patent attorney the difference(s) between your design and the one in the abandoned patent application to determine if you have anything of value.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 10/14/2010
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