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Is it Patentable?
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   Improvement In Existing Product
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AJ
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Improvement In Existing Product
« on: Aug 30th, 2006, 11:19am »
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I want to patent an improvement in an existing product that is already being sold.  
 
The Object of Invention:  The object, for example, is to automatically cover a chair with a new seat cover, letís say a piece of cloth, every time someone sits on it.  In other words, it is a mechanism by which this function is completed automatically.
 
The original idea was patented in 1978.  The process was slow, and had many parts.  It expired in 1998.  Then at least three companies, to my knowledge, one I believe is the original company, got new patents on an improved version of the old idea.  The idea is still the same, to cover the chair automatically with a seat cover (just the sitting area).  The new products these three companies are now selling appear identical in operation and the result they produce.  Iím not sure how they were all able to get 3 separate patents for an identical product.  The new product is off course improved and works better.
 
When I saw this product, I knew right away that I could improve it.   My design produces the same results, automatically providing a new seat cover each time, but the mechanism and motor of my design is completely out of the way of the user, and it provides a lot more replacement covers.  For example, the existing products, all three of them, provide only about 25 or 30 replacements each of the cover before the cloth cover roll needs to be replaced.  In my model, I can easily house over 200 replacement covers.  
 
Do I have a shot at A: Getting a patent? And B: Being able to produce and sell my product.
« Last Edit: Aug 30th, 2006, 11:27am by AJ » IP Logged
ChrisWhewell
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Re: Improvement In Existing Product
« Reply #1 on: Aug 30th, 2006, 11:32am »
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Regarding question A, if your invention uses a different set of machine elements which are cooperatively-connected to one another in a way which is different than what is known in the prior art, and is not an obvious modification of the prior art, then I would say that your invention stands a very good chance of being patentable.
 
Regarding question B, this is a commercial question, which depends on your ability to deliver the device at a cost which the market will bear, or find attractive.  It also depends on contractual obligations others who use the current devices are bound to, which is but one form of "switching costs".   You need to make it economically-attractive for others who are current users of the technology to switch to using your invention.  It might also involve persuading non-users to adopt the use of the technology.
 
best regards,
 
Chris Whewell, MS
Technology Commercialization
& Registered Patent Agent www.mypatentagent.com
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Chris Whewell, M.S.
Bill Richards
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Re: Improvement In Existing Product
« Reply #2 on: Aug 30th, 2006, 12:49pm »
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Let me add a note to Chris' response regarding QB.  If there are patents still in force which you would embody in your product, you may have potential infringement issues.
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William B. Richards, P.E.
The Richards Law Firm
Patents, Trademarks, and Copyrights
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wallflower
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Re: Improvement In Existing Product
« Reply #3 on: Aug 30th, 2006, 1:07pm »
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on Aug 30th, 2006, 11:19am, AJ wrote:
Iím not sure how they were all able to get 3 separate patents for an identical product.

A common misconception is that a product is tied to a single patent.  This is often not the case.
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CriterionD
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Re: Improvement In Existing Product
« Reply #4 on: Aug 30th, 2006, 3:00pm »
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on Aug 30th, 2006, 1:07pm, wallflower wrote:

A common misconception is that a product is tied to a single patent. †This is often not the case.

 
It is often not even close to the case, at least when dealing with larger companies
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www.criteriondynamics.com
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