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Thread: rights to a machine patent

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    Full Member andrecv's Avatar
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    Question rights to a machine patent

    Hi you all,

    Guys and girls now i need your exclusive guidance pls: My dad worked for +/- 23 years in the mining industry as a locomotive engineer, and recently a former colleague of his told me we as the beneficiaries of my dad are sitting on a very huge unclaimed gold mine because my dad BUILT a machine in the gold mines outside Klerksdorp (Stilfontein). I asked my elder sisters about it and they concurred that my dad had about 7 pages of plans that he drew (plans) but these valuable docs were destroyed 'obviously'...I in turn started asking his other colleagues who is kicking the coffin one by one and 3 who eversince passed on confirmed this by giving me the location, name and purpose of said machine and that my dad was the only one who operated and did maintainance on it. Since those days 'early 1980' until recently the mines are still using the same machines just technologically more advanced. I went to the patent offices in Pretoria and dug up a couple of inventions of this type of machine but not in my dad's name. His former supervisor then told me that in those days people of colour were not allowed to claim let alone put their names on patents...he also confirmed that the 'boss' wonder who he is, put his name on the patent and the mine kept the documentation. He is willing to testify this story in court...
    Fellow members and non members help and please don't tell me i must go to a TRC hearing...thanks

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    Diamond Member adrianh's Avatar
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    Diamond Member Justloadit's Avatar
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    Anyway, any patent has a lifespan of 16 years, then it becomes public property.
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    Diamond Member AndyD's Avatar
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    I think that given it was 30 years ago and there's little in the way of solid evidence or first hand witnesses you're not going to be able to compile a convincing case. Also if your father was an employee of the mine then anything he created or built using company time and materials would ligitimately belong to the company as he was being paid by them for his services.

    If I were you I would gather as much evidence as possible and maybe approach the law faculty at your local university and request some pro-bono advice. I wish you luck but I would advise you don't throw all you valuable time or money at this, it sounds ike too much of a long shot.
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    Dave A (21-Jul-12)

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    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndyD View Post
    Also if your father was an employee of the mine then anything he created or built using company time and materials would ligitimately belong to the company as he was being paid by them for his services.
    That's probably the legal hurdle that spikes your "gold mine", I'm afraid.

    However, it makes a great story and pursuing it could get you on an ANC candidate list somewhere - and nowadays that's probably a bigger "gold mine" than winning the patent rights royalties.
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

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    Full Member andrecv's Avatar
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    AndyD...thank you for the advice....

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    Full Member andrecv's Avatar
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    Come on Dave... I've already put both our names there...LOL...
    Thanks !

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    Dave A (21-Jul-12)

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    Diamond Member Blurock's Avatar
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    If this "patent" was designed during the apartheid years when we had sanctions against us, the "patent" may well have been copied or adapted from something not available locally due to sanctions.
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    Full Member andrecv's Avatar
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    Blurock...thank you...very interesting...!!!

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