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I could be wrong, but I don't think patents are like that. You have to protect trademarks for them to remain "valid", but patents no.
Corrections welcome of course...
Submarine patent threat still valid?
Posted Feb 4, 2010 15:17 UTC (Thu) by gmaxwell (subscriber, #30048)
Posted Feb 5, 2010 21:38 UTC (Fri) by giraffedata (subscriber, #1954)
So you'd have to go further with estoppel and find a duty of an inventor to meet some standard of effort in getting the patent office to grant the patent quickly. It would be rather difficult to prove that the patent didn't issue sooner because the inventor wanted people to use the invention royalty-free during that time.
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