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Kevin E. Flynn

Kevin E. Flynn

Patent Attorney For US Startups Serious About Seeking Patents
  • Patents
  • New York, North Carolina, United State Patent & Trademark Office
Claimed Lawyer ProfileQ&ASocial Media

Still an engineer at heart, I help companies seek strong patent protection to arm against me-too products and stay clear of third-party patent rights.

I am the right choice for the right client, but not everyone needs the same sort of patent attorney.

Some clients want to just file something so that the client can say "patent pending" without caring about actually getting a useful patent. I am not a good fit for such clients as I want to be in it to win it.

Some clients want to file a patent application although they have no idea how to make the novel product. They see the patent process as a lottery ticket where you stake a claim for a type of product and hope for a big payoff. That is not how the system works and not how I work.

Some clients want to crank out lots of very narrow patent applications where the patent attorney essentially re-formats a fairly comprehensive invention disclosure form that has been vetted by the internal patent attorneys on a patent committee. They want someone to crank out narrow applications while minimizing expenses. They have reduced new patents to a numbers game as the company has lots of patents already. No budget for creativity. Someone with less skill than me can handle that routine work.

Some clients are building a business and know that having a strong set of patents will move the needle on the value of their company as strong patents will help protect margin and market share by keeping others from selling me-too products. They want a patent attorney that is an external team member that helps the company spend money wisely while seeking patents that have commercial significance. They want someone with sufficient engineering skills to understand their technology and communicate the technology to a patent examiner. This is the type of client that I am well-suited to help.

if you want an engineer with a broad set of skills to help you seek patents or stay clear of others' patent rights, then we should talk.

Practice Area
  • Patents
  • Free Consultation
    Selecting a patent attorney is a major decision as the process is expensive and you will need to work closely with your patent attorney. You should definitely check to ensure that you have good working chemistry with a patent attorney before deciding on an attorney. I am happy to talk with you about the process and the costs without charging you for this general information. This general discussion will not go into your invention in depth and the chances that your particular innovation will be deemed patentable over the relevant prior art.
  • Rates, Retainers and Additional Information
    I have been doing patent work since 1992 and worked as an engineer for years before going to law school. My hourly rate is not as low as someone just out of law school. On the other hand, I am much more efficient than someone still learning the craft. You total cost is impacted by efficiency. As I own my firm, I can cut a bill when that is the right thing to do. Large firms often have lots of barriers to preclude cutting a bill even when the bill is larger than it should have been. My clients stay with me for years as they see my fees as reasonable in light of the value I provide.
Jurisdictions Admitted to Practice
New York
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North Carolina
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United State Patent & Trademark Office
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  • English: Spoken, Written
Professional Experience
Patent Attorney
- Current
In 2011, founded a law firm to provide specialized legal advice regarding intellectual property, particularly domestic and foreign patent rights, and related business issues. NOTE -- the legal name of the firm is The Law Offices of Kevin E. Flynn, PLLC.
Patent Attorney
The Eclipse Group
Joined The Eclipse Group LLP, a national law firm of seasoned attorneys that specialize in intellectual property with an aim to provide exceptional results at reasonable rates. Helped create and maintain a large portfolio of patents relating to spine surgery and spinal implants. Worked with a number of other medical device clients. Worked to manage patent firms outside of the United States to help clients acquire patent assets in both the US and abroad.
Patent Attorney
Daniels Daniels & Verdonik
Patent attorney at a firm that specialized in helping set up and support the growth of high technology companies. Obtained extensive experience helping companies examine patent issues for the first time. Helped companies prioritize IP expenditures to get the most bang for their limited budget. Handles all aspects of patent prosecution from strategy and initial patent drafting through the patent prosecution in both the United States and outside the United States.
Patent Attorney
Moore & Van Allen
Patent litigation and patent prosecution, general intellectual property counseling for a range of clients from small start-ups to sizeable longstanding companies.
Patent Litgation Associate
Fish & Neave
Patent attorney, primarily patent litigation support for large patent litigation such as the disputes between Altera and Xilinx; also wrote patent applications and responses to office actions from patent agencies; opinion work on scope of claim coverage and infringement or non-infringement.
Engineer -- series of positions with increasing responsibility.
Duke Power Company - Now Duke Energy
Series of postions over years working with industrial equipment to generate electricity, instruments to measure thermodynamic performance, computer systems to monitor and control projects. Obtained North Carolina Professional Engineer License while working for Duke Power.
Duke University School of Law
J.D. (1992)
Honors: Graduated cum laude Winner of Melvin G. Shimm Award for work as Articles Editor.
Activities: Editor on Law Journal - Law & Contemporary Problems.
Duke University School of Law Logo
California State University - San Jose State University
M.S. (1985) | Industrial & Systems Engineering
Honors: Graduated summa cum laude and admitted into Tau Beta Pi
California State University - San Jose State University Logo
Duke University
B.S. (1982) | Completed the requirements for a BSE in both Biomedical Engineering and Mechanical Engineering.
Honors: Elected Dormitory President 1978.
Duke University Logo
Patents I wrote were allowed and Issued
United States Patent & Trademark Office
I am most proud of the work I do for my clients to draft and often obtain patents that describe and claim their inventions. The award link takes you to the USPTO site to see a sample of my issued patents.
AV Preeminent®--the highest rating awarded
The Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Ratings™ help you, the consumer of legal services, identify, evaluate and select the appropriate lawyer for your legal issue. Peer Review Ratings™ identify lawyers with the highest ethical standards and professional ability. The ratings can be a useful aid when hiring an attorney.
Named as being in the Legal Elite for the category of Patents
Business North Carolina
Since 2002, Business North Carolina magazine has honored Tar Heel lawyers by publishing Business North Carolina’s Legal Elite, a listing of the state’s top lawyers in business-related categories. Winners are chosen not by BNC editors but by the state’s lawyers. Business North Carolina’s Legal Elite has become the model for other awards and lists, but it remains unique as the only award that gives every active lawyer in the state the opportunity to participate. Business North Carolina’s Legal Elite includes the top lawyers chosen using this statewide ballot. Each year, BNC sends ballot notices to every member of the N.C. State Bar living in North Carolina — asking each a simple question: Of the Tar Heel lawyers whose work you have observed firsthand, whom would you rate among the current best in these categories? Voters are not allowed to vote for themselves. They may select members of their firms only if they pick out-of-firm lawyers in the same categories, with the latter votes weighted more heavily. The top vote-getter in each category becomes a member of Business North Carolina’s Legal Elite Hall of Fame and is ineligible to win again.
Granted Admission to Tau Beta Pi for my work while a graduate student at San Jose State University
Tau Beta Pi - The Engineering Honor Society
Admitted 1985 for my work while seeking masters degree in engineering in for Industrial and Systems Engineering at San Jose State University, San Jose, California.
Professional Associations
Biomedical Engineering Society
- Current
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North Carolina State Bar # 23395
- Current
Activities: Member of 15B Judicial District (Orange and Chatham Counties)
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North Carolina State Bar Association # 22186
- Current
Activities: Member - Intellectual Property Law Section.
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North Carolina Bar Association-Section on Intellectual Property Law
- Current
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North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association
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Council for Entrepreneurial Development
Co-Chair of Demo Room Selection Committee, Invited Speaker
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Piedmont Entrepreneurial Network ("PEN")
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North Carolina Professional Engineering Society (Charlotte Chapter)
Social Chairman
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Articles & Publications
Samples of Issued Patents
United States Patent and Trademark Office
Provisional Patent Applications, The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.
North Carolina Small Business Technology Develpment Center
Patent Searching for Entrepreneurs
Triange TechBreakfast Lecture Series
Protecting Your Competitive Advantages
Presentation at You Grow Girl Annual Business Summit
CREATE ACT -- New Legistlation Protects Joint Resarch Efforts, But With a Price
WRAL TechWire
What Happened to Free Speech? Changes Are Needed to Squelch SLAPP Suits
WRAL TechWire
Madey v. Duke University - The Scrap About Patents Heard Around the World
WRAL TechWire
PTO Reexamination Proceeding ... An Inexpensive Alternative to Patent Litigation
WRAL TechWire
US Patent and Trademark Office Celebrates a Pair of Milestones
WRAL TechWire
'Shop Rights' -- Another Trap That Inventors Must Be Aware of and Deal With Early
WRAL TechWire
Inventors Beware: Don't Make a Mistake and Leave Your Patent Rights at the Office
WRAL TechWire
Inventors Beware: Don't Be in a Rush To Hire an Invention Promotion Firm
WRAL TechWire
Design Patents for Computer Screen Icons - Another Tool to Protect Your Innovation
WRAL TechWire
Protecting Discoveries: House of Representatives Passes CREATE Act
WRAL TechWire
Design Patents ... Are You Overlooking This Tool to Protect Your Invention?
WRAL TechWire
Patent Fees: Misapproriation by Any Other Name Smells Just as Rotten
WRAL TechWire
Speaking Engagements
Provisional Patent Applications, The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly, SBTDC Webinar, Webinar
SBTDC (North Carolina Small Business Technology Development Center)
Address the proper use of a provisional patent application and the problems when an inadequate disclosure is submitted.
Patent Issues for Triangle Angels Partners., Presentation to Monthly Meeting of Triangle Angel Partners, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina
Triangle Angel Partners
Overview of intellectual property tools and strategies.
Protecting Your Competitive Advantages., You Grow Girl Annual Business Summit, Charlotte, North Carolina
Discuss the concept of a competitive advantage and the various intellectual property tools for protecting the competitive advantages.
Teach entrepreneurs DIY skills with online tools for patent searching.
Patent Searching for Entrepreneurs, Triangle TechBreakfast Event at RTP Frontier, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina
Triangle TechBreakfast
Teach entrepreneurs DIY skills with online tools for patent searching.
Patent Primer for Non-Patent Attorneys, Law to the People - Continuing Education Webinar for Attorneys, Webinar
Law to the People
Three-hour continuing education course for attorneys to explain patent concepts.
Finding and Assessing Relevant Patents and Pending Applications, Launch the Venture Progam Series, Kenan-Flagler Business School- University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Kenan-Flagler Business School- University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Review what a patent is and how it can be used. Emphasize the difference between: Patentability--Ability to get a new patent and Freedom-to-Operate against existing patents and patent applications ahead of you in the pipeline. Work with finding patents and applications. Use PTO Public PAIR to get additional details on the patent application.
Finding and Assessing Relevant Patents and Pending Applications, SBTDC Webinar, Webinar
SBTDC (North Carolina Small Business Technology Development Center)
Patent process including the public tools to search for issued patents and published patent applications.
High Level View of the Patent Process., Presentation to Class of ECE 299, Pratt School of Engineeing, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina
Pratt Engineering School, Duke University
Teach engineers how the patent system can be used to protect innovations.
If you want them to hear you, speak their language., Lunch Presentation to Duke Law and Entrepreneurship Society, Duke Law School, Durham, North Carolina
Law and Entrepreneurship Society
Teach law students how to speak to entrepreneurs in an accessible way rather than making the lawyer-like noises that they learn in law school.
Protecting Your Competitive Edge, ProductCampRTP Weekend, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina
An element of success in a new product is that the product is in higher demand than competing products or can be made less expensively than competing products (or both). Those elements form a competitive edge that your company can convert to increased margins or increased market share (or both). But a failure to protect these competitive edges may lead to their erosion as they are adopted by others. Learn to identify and protect competitive edges.
Protecting Your Competitive Edge, North Carolina Nanotechnology Commercialization Conference, Raleigh, North Carolina
NC Board of Science & Technology & SBTDC
Provide insights on why a company should seek patent protection and when they need to initiate contact with a patent attorney.
Protecting Your Competitve Edge, 2007 SBIR National Conference, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina
SBIR National Conference
The end goal of an SBIR/STTR project is a commercialized product that is profitable. Above average profits come from having a competitive advantage. To protect the competitive advantage and to be attractive to investors, the idea may need intellectual property protection. Come learn the big picture concepts you need know now and learn the how to avoid SBIR pitfalls that can hurt long-term viability. Session will also cover issues revolving around the ownership of your intellectual property.
Protecting Your Competitive Edge, CED Entrepreneurs Only Workshop: IP Protection, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina
Explanation of the concept of a competitive edge and how the patent process can protect a competitive edge. Include guidance on the timing for seeking patent protection before it is too late.
Information Disclosure Statement Filings, Masters Engineerng Management Course of Patent Process, Pratt School of Engineeing, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina
Pratt Engineering School, Duke University
Practical advice on the process of selecting material for information disclosure statements and the duties of disclosure under 37 CFR 1.56.
Patent Law Tricks, Treats, and Scary Things, Conference hosted by Aurora Funds, Durham, North Carolina
Aurora Funds
Tricks, treats, and scary things with respect to the patent process and early stage companies.
Being Creative When Prosecuting Patents and Writing Agreements, American Intellectual Property Law Association Annual Meeting, Washington DC
American Intellectual Property Law Association (AIPLA)
A presentation and paper co-authored by Shannon Mrksich, Brinks Hofer Gilson Lione on the Create Act and the impact on joint research agreements with respect to the patent process.
Turning Your IP Into Dollars, Forum 2003- Emerging Intelligence, Chapel Hill, North Carolina
North Carolina Electronics Information Technology Association -
The ongoing cycle of identifying, protecting, using and commercializing intellectual property to increase corporate revenues. Kevin Flynn and Caroline Rockafellow will give practical advice on obtaining maximum value from intellectual property assets.
Intellectual Property Issues: Opportunities and Pitfalls, SBTDC SBIR Workshop, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina
SBTDC (North Carolina Small Business Technology Development Center)
Explanation of the intellectual property and regulatory framework that envelopes the SBIR grant recipient company. Goal is to provide practical advice and triggers for when it is time to get help from a patent attorney.
AV Preeminent™ Peer Review Rated
Results of Peer Reviews compiled by Martindale-Hubbell
Professional Engineer License (now expired)
North Carolina Board of Examiners for Engineers and Surveyors
Registration as Patent Attorney
United States Patent & Trademark Office
Websites & Blogs
FLYNN IP LAW website
LinkedIn Profile
Samples of My Patent Work
PowerPoint slide set on Patent Searching for Entrepreneurs
PowerPoint slide set on what should be in Provisional Patent Applications
PowerPoint slide set on Protecting Your Competitive Advantages
Legal Answers
414 Questions Answered

Q. how long is a patent valid?
A: PATENT TERM Patent term is more confusing than it should be. The one part that is simple, is that patent term is not a function of the technology. There is not a way for the applicant to apply to extend the patent term (unlike trademarks or copyrights). (but as noted below, there are things that can shorten the term) It is the same for dishwasher patents or patents on an ultrasound machine. Unfortunately, to try to make things fair, the rules have a number of layers. Old rules were that patents had a term of 17 years from when they issued. New rules are that apply to patent applications filed after June 8, 1995 are 20 years from the first non-provisional patent application. Applications pending on June 8, 1995 get to choose between the old and new rules so it is possible that something could pop out with a 17 year term that was filed before June 8, 1995 but that is pretty rare. So you ignore the filing date of the provisional application (if any) and look to the oldest non-provisional patent application in the chain of priority. Some applications claim priority back to an earlier non-provisional application via a divisional application, continuation application, or continuation-in-part application. There are several things that can change this default 20 year term 1) Patent Term Adjustment -- These are bonus days added to the end of the term to make up for the Patent Office being slow in doing their job. This is printed on the patent. 2) Patent Term Extension -- There are extra days added to things undergoing certain types of regulatory review such as review of a new drug at the FDA. The thought is that patent days should not tick off the clock while you are not allowed to sell the product. 3) Sometimes two patent applications are deemed similar by the patent office and they tie the end date of the second application to the end date of the first application. This is called a terminal disclaimer and rarely has a huge impact due to the new 20 year rule. 4) The patent owner has the option of disclaiming the rest of the patent term. This rarely happens but could if the patent owner was worried about an antitrust charge from maintaining a blatantly invalid patent. 5) Some patents become toothless as the claims are deemed invalid or unenforceable in litigation. 4) The patent may expire early if the patent owner does not pay a renewal fee by start of years 4, 8, and 12. This fee is called a maintenance fee. You can see the status using Public PAIR or you can check at Finally, with respect to design patents that cover the distinctive ornamental appearance filed after May 13, 2015, the term is 15 years from issuance. (No maintenance fees, no Patent term adjustment) Your patent attorney can sort through these nuances if this seems overwhelming. I hope this helps. Kevin E Flynn
Q. What countries are the patents allowed in?
A: Most countries have some sort of patent system. Some use a regional system so that several countries can share the cost of running a patent system. There is a front end for 153 patent systems run by WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization) See the list of countries here . Filing a patent application in this system called a PCT application is not an "international patent" but it does preserve rights for you to continue into the 153 different countries that participate in the PCT process (including the United States). A United States Patent Applies to the United States. A United States Patent applies to actions in the United States. So making a product in China and importing to the US would be covered. Also making a product in the US and exporting to Canada would be covered. However, a product made in China could be sold into Canada as long as it does not pass through the US on the way to Canada. Many companies seek patents in other countries that match the patent that they have in their home country. If you found this answer helpful, you may want to look at my answers to other questions about patent law are available at the bottom of my profile page at Kevin E Flynn
Q. How can I learn if a patent is earning royalties by the inventor?
A: The number you cite is not a patent. It is a published version of an application. Not all patent applications become patents. According to Google Patents, this one did not. Sometimes a license agreement will include different tiers of royalty payments with a higher tier once the patent application becomes an issued patent with claims that cover the product. The agreement may include a lower tier of royalty payments just for giving the company access to the idea before others had it. That is less common. Kevin E Flynn
A: As patent attorneys obtain their patent registration from the USPTO, they can help inventors from anywhere seek US patents. Many of my clients are from states beyond North Carolina. In some situations, there is a need to visit a lab or factory to see prototypes or to interview a number of people and it is just easier to work with someone within driving distance. You can get a list of patent attorneys and patent agents from the USPTO at . Some of these people may work for corporations and won't be available to help you. I would list the state but not the city as I do not know whether the USPTO tool is sophisticated enough to list someone who is in a town adjacent to Gulfport. You will recognize those town names as you scroll through the results for Mississippi. Within patent law, there are some things more important than proximity. You would want a patent attorney that works with your type of invention. Someone that handles new pharmaceutical drugs would not be a good choice for an invention of a new power tool. Further, many patent attorneys prefer to work as effectively subcontractors for large corporate clients rather than work with individual inventors and new companies. You should look at the websites of the patent attorneys that you find to see if there is a match for what you need. Another trick is to look at patents that the patent attorneys past projects. You can use a USPTO search to look for patents that list that patent attorney. This is the search for my name so you can see the pattern and you can look for other attorneys work. Go to and then put in LREP/"FLYNN Kevin E" as the query. (some firms only list the name of the firm on the patent and not the attorney so this is not perfect). I hope this helps. Kevin E Flynn
Q. I would like to have a hard copy of a patent I originated. How much does that cost?
A: Congratulations on being an inventor on a US patent. You can download a PDF of the patent at and then print the patent out. If you want the patent on some thicker stock, you can buy one from the USPTO for $3. I have not done this but you can call the USPTO at 571-272-1000 to find out the process. You can get a certified copy for $25 from the USPTO which will come with a cover sheet. I order these when I need one for work in a foreign country where I need to claim priority but I have never ordered one for a client to have. You may need to set up an account with the USPTO. See There is a fancy "ribbon" copy of the patent that is mailed out to the attorney for the company that owns the patent. This ribbon copy is kept by the company sort of like title to a car. I don't think you can get a duplicate as I do not think that you own this patent. I hope that this helps. Kevin E Flynn
Q. I live I north carolina my daughters boyfriend grandmother bout here a cell phone she will not give it to me what's my
A: I am sorry, this is not a patent law question. Perhaps you thought the category was paRents instead of paTents. Good luck in resolving your situation. Kevin E Flynn
Q. Renewal fees have been missed on a patent due to financial limitations of owner. How can the patent be reinstated?
A: I do not think that the lapsed patent can be reinstated in accordance with the rules as the failure to pay was not unintentional under USPTO guidelines. Traditionally, not having the money to pay a fee was not considered a reason that something was unintentional. See C. Unintentional Delay While the Office reserves the authority to require further information concerning the cause of abandonment and delay in filing a petition to revive, the Office relies upon the applicant’s duty of candor and good faith and accepts the statement that “the entire delay in filing the required reply from the due date for the reply until the filing of a grantable petition pursuant to 37 CFR 1.137(a) was unintentional” without requiring further information in the vast majority of petitions under 37 CFR 1.137(a). This is because the applicant is obligated under 37 CFR 11.18 to inquire into the underlying facts and circumstances when a practitioner provides this statement to the Office. In addition, providing an inappropriate statement in a petition under 37 CFR 1.137(a) to revive an abandoned application may have an adverse effect when attempting to enforce any patent resulting from the application. See Lumenyte Int’l Corp. v. Cable Lite Corp., Nos. 96-1011, 96-1077, 1996 U.S. App. LEXIS 16400, 1996 WL 383927 (Fed. Cir. July 9, 1996)(unpublished)(patents held unenforceable due to a finding of inequitable conduct in submitting an inappropriate statement that the abandonment was unintentional). The Office is almost always satisfied as to whether “the entire delay…was unintentional” on the basis of statement(s) by the applicant or representative explaining the cause of the delay (accompanied at most by copies of correspondence relevant to the period of delay). The legislative history of Public Law 97-247, § 3, 96 Stat. 317 (1982), reveals that the purpose of 35 U.S.C. 41(a)(7) is to permit the Office to have discretion to revive abandoned applications in appropriate circumstances, but places a limit on this discretion stating that “[u]nder this section a petition accompanied by [the requisite fee] would not be granted where the abandonment or the failure to pay the fee for issuing the patent was intentional as opposed to being unintentional or unavoidable.” H.R. Rep. No. 542, 97th Cong., 2d Sess. 6-7 (1982), reprinted in 1982 U.S.C.C.A.N. 770-71. A delay resulting from a deliberately chosen course of action on the part of the applicant is not an “unintentional” delay within the meaning of 37 CFR 1.137. Excerpt from Note that the Federal Circuit looked the other way when the US Navy revived a patent when it intentionally let it lapse. I do not agree with this decision but my opinions are not the law. You may want to consult with a patent attorney to see if the law would support filing a petition to revive given the current state of the law. I hope that this helps. Kevin E Flynn
Q. Hi, I am based in South Africa and from what I have learnt, Software cannot be patented or is this only in South Africa
A: I do not know the rules in South Africa. Software can be patented in the United States but normally the patent is on how the software makes the computer or related equipment do their jobs better. A new digital file type may fall under this category. It is much harder than it used to be to seek patents on gathering information, processing the information in conventional ways, and then displaying the information. While those steps may be part of an innovative change to a business process, it is rare that this is an invention as defined somewhat narrowly under US law. This is a very nuanced area of law and you would need help from someone that is familiar with this area. But a great place to start is the guidance provided to the examiners which is posted by the USPTO here -- It would be smart to do so searching of US patents. You can look at published US patent applications too but some may be dead on arrival when they get examined so they may give you false hope. My slides at may help teach you some tricks. I hope that this helps. Kevin E Flynn
Q. Hi I am looking for the patents which describe the steam activation carbon production methods?
A: You can use Google Patents or the USPTO search tool. There are other tools and some that focus on patents or patent applications filed outside of the US but these two are where I would normally start. Here is a link to some tips on using these tools. If you found this answer helpful, you may want to look at my answers to other questions about patent law are available at the bottom of my profile page at Kevin E Flynn
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Post Office Box 4655
Chapel Hill, NC 27514
Telephone: (919) 818-9147
Cell: (919) 818-9147