Have you ever noticed this in a patent application publication or a registered patent?
COPYRIGHT NOTICE AND AUTHORIZATION
A portion of the disclosure of this patent document contains materials that are subject to copyright protection. The copyright owner has no objection to the facsimile reproduction by anyone of the patent document or the patent disclosure, as it appears in the United States Patent and Trademark Office patent file or records, but otherwise reserves all copyright rights whatsoever.
I don't see this too often but in the past week or so I've come across this several times so I thought I'd do some research in order to find out whether this copyright notice means anything.
As you may know, there are many different ways to write a patent, but similar boiler plate languages appear from time to time. For example, you see the following language in almost every patent:
The foregoing description of various embodiments of the invention has been presented for purposes of illustration and description. It is not intended to limit the invention to the precise forms disclosed. Many modifications and equivalent arrangements will be apparent.
If a patent includes a copyright notice then does this mean that you can't have a boiler language like the one above? The answer is probably not. For one thing, the language above cannot be created because it's likely that whoever wrote it didn't come up with it. I say this because it's so widely used and not too original. Also, the patent office says this about copyrighted contents in patent applications/patents:
Patents are published as part of the terms of granting the patent to the inventor. Subject to limited exceptions reflected in 37 CFR 1.71(d) & (e) and 1.84(s), the text and drawings of a patent are typically not subject to copyright restrictions.
But remember, patent owners are not compromising their enforceable patent rights by publishing information about their invention. If a patent is valid, patent owners have the exclusive right to make, use, and sell their invention and therefore the public does not have the right to copy the invention itself. So what does a copyright notice mean for you in the long run? If we're strictly concerned with your patent rights, probably not much. But it could prevent others from using materials that are in your application.