Intellectual Property Forums (

(Message started by: Guest on Feb 3rd, 2004, 10:39am)

Title: Patent Question
Post by Guest on Feb 3rd, 2004, 10:39am
I have a general question about claims of a patent.  Let's say, for example, someone has an unexpired patent for a couch, just a typical couch.  Would it possible for someone to obtain a patent for, let's say, a couch with a bed inside (i.e. a sofa bed), assuming that it is not an obvious improvement of the typical patented couch?

Further, let's say the couch patent, for sake of simplicity, had one claim:

A couch, with two arms, a seat and a back.

Can the sofa bed invention, with the following claim be patented even though all of the element in the couch patent are present?

A couch, with two arms, a seat, a back, and a bed.

Title: Re: Patent Question
Post by JimIvey on Feb 3rd, 2004, 11:30am
Yes, a non-obvious improvement of a known thing is itself patentable.

For what it's worth, the fact that the patent on the couch is unexpired is irrelevant.  Prior art includes all that is known, not just all that is coverd by unexpired patents.

I hope that helps.


Title: Re: Patent Question
Post by M_Arthur_Auslander on Feb 3rd, 2004, 7:40pm
Dear Guest,
That does not mean that the user of the improvement patent might not infringe the basic patent.

Title: Re: Patent Question
Post by eric stasik on Feb 4th, 2004, 3:49am
Dear Guest,

Both Mr. Ivey and Mr. Auslander are correct.

Encouraging the invention of  improvements to existing patented inventions is one of the basic goals of the patent system.

Although you may not be able to practice your invention without a license to the existing patent (until it expires) neither will the existing patent holder be able to take advantage of your improvement without a license from you. Having a patent on the improvement may create conditions for a cross-license which would enable both of you to make the improved version. This is a very common way gaining access to patented technolgy without paying a license.


Eric Stasik

Title: Re: Patent Question
Post by Guest on Nov 9th, 2004, 7:27pm
I have a follow-up question to the couch example.  If party "A" received the couch under a non-disclosure agreement ("NDA"), can party "A" file a patent application for the sofa bed (ie, the improvement) without naming as co-inventor the inventor of the couch?  In this case, is the couch considered to be prior art because it was invented by another?

Title: Re: Patent Question
Post by Guest on Apr 25th, 2005, 12:32pm
I have a question and i don't care if my idea gets out but i was just curious.  I've thought up this tv accessory.  It a dome shape object and you can open it up to put dvds in it.  It can probably hold about a hundred or so.  Anyways once you place the dvd's in the system you plug it into the av cable slots.  When the tv is turn on and the proper channel is selected a menu appears with a listing of a the dvd's in the device.  From there you can select your dvd and view it with no hassle.  This gets rid of the dvd cases and saves space in your living space.
Would I be able to put a patent on an idea like this or is it to similiar to a dvd player.

Title: Re: Patent Question
Post by Jonathan on Apr 25th, 2005, 2:06pm
Yes, you could file a patent on the device you described. It is certainly statutory subject matter. Whether you would get a patent is another story, of course.

Your described DVD storage / player doesn't sound too dis-similar from a multi-cd storage / player except for perhaps being able to display each DVD related title (or more) data on a monitor (for example a TV). Being able to extract that perhaps textual data is probably not that difficult to do for one skilled in the art, however.

Title: Re: Patent Question
Post by guest on Apr 25th, 2005, 10:13pm
Thanks alot for the replay and sorry to bother you

Title: Re: Patent Question
Post by John Riely on Aug 23rd, 2005, 8:38am
Theoretically speaking, if a patentee received a patent on a manufacture, but did not claim the method of manufacture, could someone claim the method?   If that person did get the method, you essentially could not practice the method w/o infringing?   Any thoughts?

Title: Re: Patent Question
Post by JimIvey on Aug 23rd, 2005, 9:54am
Assuming the prior patent met the legal requirement of describing how to make and use the prior invention, the prior patent would anticipate the latter patent.  The later product-by-process patent would have to claim (and describe) a non-obvious variation of the method of making taught in the prior patent.  That would allow the prior patentee to continue making the product in the old, "conventional" manner taught in the first patent (assuming no other patents covering any aspects of the method).


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