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I am not from US, also the English is not even my native language, and I am even not a lawyer so it difficult to understand some things.

Consider a scrollbar patent . It was patented in US. I have few questions:

  1. Basics Although it is patented in US, is it "working" worldwide? Could two countries have the same patent from different inventors? When someone brings patent to patent service in his country, the patent service will check if there same patent anywhere in the world?
  2. Basics If last sentence is false, - if someone from country A stole patent from country B, then inventor from country B should go to country A court?
  3. How (US) law describes expiration of patent? What does it mean? Can it be repatented? Can anyone free use expired patent?
  4. In the page I provided the status of patent is Expired - Fee Related - was does it mean?
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  • One question per question.
    – Trish
    Aug 30, 2022 at 17:56
  • @Trishm I can agree only about first two ones. Will cut them out tomorrow Aug 30, 2022 at 18:23
  • @Trish, well posters already answered all questions, so I think it will be confusing to someone, if I remove them, so I update a bit the title Sep 1, 2022 at 7:34
  • Indeed, your question was picked apart, but it should have been two or three questions to begin with... and they chose to answer separate questions. Just remember, try to ask only very tightly related questions together, not a laundry basket of them.
    – Trish
    Sep 1, 2022 at 7:37

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For the first question - No, patents are territorial. A US patent is not "working" anywhere else. Of course one can apply in multiple countries if the proper time frames and procedures are followed. There is a mechanism (PCT Treaty) that allows a straightforward way to apply in over a 140 countries simultaneously. Although it is frequently used, it is expensive to continue to prosecute the application in each place and even in high-value inventions only a handful of places are eventually chosen to actually pursue patents. Each country's/region's laws and processes are different and success in patenting can vary.

Normally two countries would not have the same thing patented by different inventors. The patenting or publication of the first one would make it prior art to the second filed one. This should be found by the second examiner and stop a duplicate patent by a second inventor. However there can be subtle differences between similar inventions and mistakes do happen. In the case of true simultaneous invention this can happen.

To get a patent, the invention must be novel - that means no one has published or patented it anywhere in the world at any time in any language. Before the AIA law in the U.S. the law said "or known in this country". It could have made a loophole where something was known publicly elsewhere but did not constitute prior art in the U.S. That is now changed to be world-wide.

Even if the examiner does a world wide search they might miss something and a patent might get issued even though the invention was not novel and a patent elsewhere is granted. To invalidate it the original patent owner would need to look into available procedures in country A. It might be court or it might be administrative.

In most places an annual “renewal” fee must be paid to keep a patent in-force. In the U.S. a “maintenance” fee must be paid at the 3.5 year, 7.5 year and 7.5 year points in order to stay in-force.

A patent who’s renewal or maintenance fee hasn’t been paid is expired for fee reasons. That can imply that it can be revived by the patent owner by paying the fees and usually a penalty. There may be a time limit or a small set of allowable circumstances to revive.

A patent labeled expired for fee reasons might now be past its normal lifespan and therefore not revivable.

In general patents are given to inventors and those an inventor assigns their rights to. Someone else can’t come along and revive a patent they had nothing to do with originally. There is no “re-patenting”.

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I'll answer the first three questions only leaving the last for another post.

Basics Although it is patented in US, is it "working" worldwide?

It is common for a patent to be simultaneously obtained in every country that is a party to the international treaty governing patent filings. But, this isn't done for every patent. Without checking you can't know.

Could two countries have the same patent from different inventors? When someone brings patent to patent service in his country, the patent service will check if there same patent anywhere in the world?

One can imagine from pretty technically obscure ways that this could happen, due to inconsistencies between national laws that are changed at different times to convert to the first to file system, regarding first to file systems v. first to invent systems (to oversimplify).

But, usually, the existence of a patent anywhere in the world will be "prior art" that defeats a later obtained patent anywhere in the world and would result in the summary defeat of an infringement case brought by the later patent.

Basics If last sentence is false, - if someone from country A stole patent from country B, then inventor from country B should go to country A court?

Normally, the investor from country B and that inventor's licensees would gather up a file showing that his patent was prior art before it was applied for in country A, and then use this only upon receiving a cease and desist letter or being sued for infringement in country A.

Some countries allow patents that have been issued to be invalidated after they have been issued in the absence of litigation (including the U.S. in the inter partes review review process in some cases). But, usually, having a case lined up to swiftly and cleanly defeat an infringement claim if made would be enough.

How (US) law describes expiration of patent? What does it mean? Can it be repatented? Can anyone free use expired patent?

Generally speaking, when a patent expires, the patent enters the public domain and anyone can use it for free.

Patents on certain medical products can be extended for up to five years if there have been delays in obtaining FDA approval that reduced the available marketing time for the product to less than fourteen years.

CAVEAT: There are a handful of countries that "just weird" and don't follow the general rules that most countries of the world have agreed to by treaty. Cf. these countries with anomalous copyright laws.

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    Via the PCT process an application can be filed simultaneously in 140+ places., no extra charge. However it is extremely unlikely they will be issued as patent simultaneously. I also doubt that any patent has ever actually been issued in all PCT members let alone everywhere. Getting one in even 20 or so places would be unusual outside of pharma. Also, not every country is a member of PCT. Argentina is a notable outlier and, of course, the UN doesn’t think Taiwan is a country so it can’t be a PCT member. And probably a typo, it is Inter partes review. Aug 31, 2022 at 5:41
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    The basic answer to the first question is no patents are territorial. A US patent is not “working” anywhere else. Aug 31, 2022 at 5:44
  • "And probably a typo" It is. Thanks for catching it.
    – ohwilleke
    Aug 31, 2022 at 12:49

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