Nobody has pressed any claims so far, so it must be OK. Right?

Maybe, but don't bet on it. Some things, like trade marks, must be vigorously defended or you loose them. Patents are yours for 15 to 20 years (depending on the country), as long as you have paid the fees, and tidied up all the paperwork. If it suits you, you can keep quiet for a while and let something become popular, then pounce at a strategic moment. A patent holder keeping quiet can be a business tactic, especially if the patented technique gets into a standard.