Let’s begin with, what are patents?
Patents are a government-issued license that gives an inventor the exclusive ability, for a period of time, to make, use, or sell an invention of their creation. Usually, the inventor will submit a drawing and description of the invention that they intend to have patented. Once approved by the Patent Office the license is issued and the inventor has sole rights to production of the item.
Recently, there has been a market for consumers to purchase patent drawings and descriptions as artwork, which leads to the question at hand. Is creating artwork from a patent drawing a violation of copyright rules?
The simple answer is no, but there is a bit more to it. As stated, a patent stops others from manufacturing or using the invention without the permission of the inventor during the active life of the patent. However, creating an artwork of the patent does not compromise the inventor’s ability to stop others from making, using, offering for sale, or selling the invention throughout the United States or importing the invention into the United States for a limited time. So, if you are a fan of Thomas Edison and wish to create or purchase art work containing one of or all of Mr. Edison’s one thousand ninety-three patents feel free to do so without worry of being sued for copyright infringement.
If there is still some doubt regarding the use of patent drawings as art, our experienced attorneys are here to assist you. Both our Washington, D.C. office and our Miami, FL office are available to schedule a consultation by calling (786) 837-6787 or by email via firstname.lastname@example.org.