Can I take advantage of a lapsed patent claim, even though some newer active patents exist with similar claims? 3 Answers as of October 28, 2014

So I am currently in the midst of developing a product that uses protruded prongs to make connection with electrical receptacle screws. I found a lapsed patent that had done the same to produce an illuminated cover plate. However, through more research I found a granted active patent. These both findings have a claim that is very much the same as the lapsed patent. Is this the right assumption?

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Law Office of Kirk Buhler
Law Office of Kirk Buhler | Kirk A Buhler
Infringement of patent is determined by the claims. To infringe you must have all of the features literally or equivalently. You need to review the claims and not the images or the description. From your question I am not sure if it is a abandoned (fee not paid) or an expired (term has ended) patent. Without reviewing the patent, the claims and your invention an exact determination of your freedom to operate can't be determined. Once a patent has expired it is in public domain and can be copied.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 10/28/2014
Michael M. Ahmadshahi
Michael M. Ahmadshahi | Michael M. Ahmadshahi, Ph.D., Esq.
If your assessment, regarding the claims of both patents being the same, is correct, then the active patent is invalid. This means that the active patent was not examined properly and that it could be invalidated by showing that the expired patent's claim is the same as the active patent.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 10/28/2014
Webb IP Law Group
Webb IP Law Group | Jason P Webb
Your question is not clear.
Answer Applies to: Utah
Replied: 10/28/2014
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