How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • Go back-and-forth until satisfied
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask F E Smith Your Own Question
F E Smith
F E Smith, Advocate
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 18741
Experience:  I have been practising for 30 years.
Type Your Law Question Here...
F E Smith is online now

I patented an idea 30 years ago that is used in many

This answer was rated:

I patented an idea 30 years ago that is used in many vehicles today. 30 years ago I contacted and visited many manufacturers who said they weren't interested in my idea but today I have evidence that they started development work to adapt the idea to their products almost immediately. Can I gain financially from this situation today?
JA: Where is this? And can you tell me a little more about the charge?
Customer: The manufacturers are global companies, I'm an Englishman based in England...
JA: Have you talked to a local attorney? Has anything been filed in court?
Customer: No, your my first port of call as it were.
JA: Is there anything else the Lawyer should know before I connect you? Rest assured that they'll be able to help you.
Customer: Not really apart from the patent lawyer telling me that we're the patent still in force today the application would be air tight.

I've been working hard to find a Professional to assist you with your question, but sometimes finding the right Professional can take a little longer than expected.

I wonder whether you're ok with continuing to wait for an answer. If you are, please let me know and I will continue my search. If not, feel free to let me know and I will cancel this question for you.

Thank you!
Customer: replied 9 days ago.
I'm happy to wait thank you.
I apologise as we have not yet been able to find a Professional to assist you. Do you wish for me to continue to search for someone to assist you or would you like for us to close your question at this time?
Thank you for your patience,

Patent protection does not last for ever.  It lasts for 20 years so it would now be out of time but I’m sorry to say that as you did not patent it at the time, you cannot go back to everybody retrospectively holding your hand out.

They may have registered the patent themselves indeed.

They may have breached your unregistered design right which doesn’t actually need registration but the time limit to pursue that under the Limitation Act is 6 years from the breach.

Even if you were within that 6 years, I can tell you now that an action like this is not going to cost thousands of pounds or even tens of thousands of pounds but potentially hundreds of thousands of pounds if not millions.

It’s unlikely you would get a solicitor to deal with it no win no fee even if it is within time, which it isn’t.  I’m sorry, I know it’s not the answer you wanted.

It is such a great shame that you did not patent the idea 30 years ago because you would have had 20 years worth of royalties.

I am glad to help.

Hopefully, I have answered your query in a way that is simple and easy to understand.

I would be more than happy to clarify anything else for you. In the meantime, thank you once again for using our services.

I am happy to answer any specific points arising from this.

Please be aware that my answer is based strictly upon the information you have given me.

If you still need any points clarifying, I will be happy to reply because the thread does not close. In fact, it remains open indefinitely.

I am always happy to answer any further questions you have on any new thread in which case, please start your question with, “ For FES only”.

That only applies to new threads, not this one. You have me exclusively on this one.

Thank you.

Best wishes.


F E Smith, Advocate
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 18741
Experience: I have been practising for 30 years.
F E Smith and 5 other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 7 days ago.
For FES only.Many thanks for your attention.
It seems to be the same response I had from the companies involved in the first place. I recall visiting as many as 40 in the UK and all treated me as a bit of a crack pot, interestingly Honda started working with this idea back in 1992 which says something. Would there be any harm in contacting the firms direct and asking for a bung ( excuse the colloquialism)?, ie any mileage in making a nuisance of myself or would trying for some publicity to my plight be counter productive in your opinion?.Kind Regards
Nick Parish