Free Inactive Patent Search
Here's a message from Michigan Tech's researcher and lecturer Joshua Pierce:
In an attempt to make patents even marginally useful we have just created an open source free inactive patent search. Roughly 1/2 of US patents become inactive before the 20 year mark because owners don't pay fees on time.
To find patents that have merely expired you can simply set your search terms to look for patents that are 20 years old or older at the USPTO or Google Patents. However, finding a list of inactive patents is far more challenging. Our website overcomes that challenge as it allows you to search through all inactive patents in the U.S. that are less than 20 years old. We created this database to help drive open source hardware development. Our previous work has found that patents should be significantly weakened as they are actively retarding innovation and technical progress. By properly valuing open hardware development it is clear that the return on investment for OSH development is enormous. In addition, proactive measures to defend the public domain can also provide more safe space for innovators to operate. Our hope is that this database accelerates your open hardware development. So hopefully this will help you keep it up!