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Author Topic: Is this an improvement patent?  (Read 3264 times)

zeric

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Is this an improvement patent?
« on: 04-15-11 at 01:51 pm »

Hello there,

I've registered in this forum 2 weeks ago but at that time the forum had DB problems, I've managed to post on it but then went on vacations and, as I got home yesterday, noticed that the posts I had written all have missed (maybe due to a previous DB restore).

My problem is:
I've an idea that want to patent. I've searched all over the internet (i.e. google, google products, etc) and nothing similar has appeared. As I searched 'wipo' for patents, I've discovered that a very similar but rudimentary product was already patented.

Both products can be described using the 'car' example.
Imagine this.
Mr Ford Patented his car in 1900. He invented de car concept so he was able to patent it fully (4 tires, 1 steering wheel, 3 doors, runs on gas, the main purpose is to give you status and move you around, etc etc).
111 year have passed and no innovations and/or patents in the car world have been made (meaning that we are all still riding the 1900 Ford), until I came with this brilliant new Ferrari (imagine the newest Ferrari available) and want to patent it.

Let's not forget that my Ferrari have a different design, uses different technology and etc but in the end, it has 4 tires, 1 steering wheel, 3 doors, runs on gas, the main purpose is to give you status and move you around, etc etc just like Mr Fords' Car.

So my questions are then:
- Is it possible to patent my invention? If yes, Would my invention be an improvement Patent? If yes, WHY? :S
- How do I manage this whole situation?

Thanks on any thoughts.

Best regards
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MYK

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Re: Is this an improvement patent?
« Reply #1 on: 04-15-11 at 02:17 pm »

An "improvement patent" is just one of those vague terms that people throw around.  Is it an improvement patent compared to the wheel? compared to the automobile? compared to the in-dash cassette tape player? compared to the use of forgings for the frame?

Yes, you may be able to patent your invention.  It depends.  If your only improvements are that yours looks sleeker and has VFR (Very Ferrari Red) paint, then probably not.  If you can come up with something that differentiates yours in a utilitarian sense, then yes.  Look at the point or points of novelty between your invention and the prior art.  What's changed, what makes yours better, how is it new, and is it "nonobvious" compared to combinations of what existed before.
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Disclaimer: not only am I not a lawyer, I'm not your lawyer.  Therefore, this does not constitute legal advice.

JimIvey

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Re: Is this an improvement patent?
« Reply #2 on: 04-15-11 at 03:54 pm »

Just to expand a bit....

You will have to describe your improvement in one or more claims.  If you claim says that you've invented a car that includes "4 tires, 1 steering wheel, 3 doors, runs on gas, the main purpose is to give you status and move you around, etc etc", then Ford's model T would pose a problem for your Ferrari patent application.

However, consider that you try to claim the V piston arrangement of the V-12 (or whatever it is -- V-18?) or the dual overhead cams or the dual wishbone suspension or the mid-engine arrangement, the trans-axle, the 6-speed transmission, the tachometer, ... and the list goes on.  If your claim includes those refinements and the Ford Model T didn't have those, you're in good shape.

Regards.
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zeric

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Re: Is this an improvement patent?
« Reply #3 on: 04-16-11 at 03:21 am »

If you can come up with something that differentiates yours in a utilitarian sense, then yes.  Look at the point or points of novelty between your invention and the prior art.  What's changed, what makes yours better, how is it new, and is it "nonobvious" compared to combinations of what existed before.
Thanks on your reply. I guess the post above by Jim has already clarified some of that.

You will have to describe your improvement in one or more claims.  If you claim says that you've invented a car that includes "4 tires, 1 steering wheel, 3 doors, runs on gas, the main purpose is to give you status and move you around, etc etc", then Ford's model T would pose a problem for your Ferrari patent application.
I see but didn't understood the above descriptinon fully.
- My claims should not include the above description at all? or;
- My claims should include the above description and the details below that clearly differentiates both cars?

However, consider that you try to claim the V piston arrangement of the V-12 (or whatever it is -- V-18?) or the dual overhead cams or the dual wishbone suspension or the mid-engine arrangement, the trans-axle, the 6-speed transmission, the tachometer, ... and the list goes on.  If your claim includes those refinements and the Ford Model T didn't have those, you're in good shape.
Ok. Thank you, I'll study deeper the claims and post the observations.
« Last Edit: 04-16-11 at 01:22 pm by zeric »
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zeric

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Re: Is this an improvement patent?
« Reply #4 on: 04-18-11 at 02:03 pm »

I've been doing some search & reading and found out that, even though there are no other 'cars' patented, there are at least 3 different 'motorbikes' patented which makes me think that I just might got lucky with my patent.
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khazzah

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Re: Is this an improvement patent?
« Reply #5 on: 04-18-11 at 02:51 pm »

I've been doing some search & reading and found out that, even though there are no other 'cars' patented, there are at least 3 different 'motorbikes' patented which makes me think that I just might got lucky with my patent.

First of all, if won't help you to focus your self solely on what has been *patented*, ie, issued patents. You absolutely must also consider patent publications, since the Examiner can use both as prior art against you.

Even that's not enough. Prior art is not limited to patent publications and issued patents. Any printed publication or public use meeting the patent statutes will do. It doesn't even have to be in English!

So .... just because you've performed a search of US patents and patent/pubs doesn't mean you're clear.

Secondly, if you're thinking that the motorbike references can't be used as prior art against your car application, you're probably wrong. Although there are differences, the two share many common features such as an engine, wheels, brakes, transmission, etc. Therefore, references describing motorbikes are probably fair game against a car application.

Obviously, we don't have any details about your invention, and we're using analogies like "cars" and "motorbikes". So in your real application, the car and motorbike might be different enough so that the motorbike can't be used against you. Or might not. Who knows.


If you're saying that there are no
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zeric

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Re: Is this an improvement patent?
« Reply #6 on: 04-19-11 at 05:34 am »

hello there,

I've been using the 'wipo patent search' for my searching's. The 'wipo patent search' is defined as: ...This facility allows you to search international patent applications and to view the latest information and documents available to the International Bureau...

Should I use another patent search engine besides this one? what is names that search engine?

I understand what you mean by the motorcycle patent mess with my patent but I just figured that, if there are 3 different patents for motorcycles, I may just be able to 'adapt' my claims for the 'car' metaphor, and still not go into the 'motorcycle field/patent.

Thanks on the reply.
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khazzah

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Re: Is this an improvement patent?
« Reply #7 on: 04-19-11 at 08:37 am »

I've been using the 'wipo patent search' for my searching's. ... Should I use another patent search engine besides this one?

WIPO covers both issued patents and published patent application, so that's good. And it covers countries other than the US. That's good too.

I understand what you mean by the motorcycle patent mess with my patent but I just figured that, if there are 3 different patents for motorcycles, I may just be able to 'adapt' my claims for the 'car' metaphor, and still not go into the 'motorcycle field/patent.

Wrong. Supposed you claim
Quote
1. A car comprising:
a gasoline engine; and
a transmission coupled to the internal combustion engine; and
four wheels coupled to the transmission.

Then the Examiner finds a reference describing a motorcycle having internal combustion engine, a transmission, and two wheels. The Examiner can make an obviousness rejection using the motorcycle reference, essentially saying that "the motorcycle reference discloses everything you claim except it has two wheels instead of four, but it's obvious to add two more wheels to the motorcyle."

Or the Examiner can combine the motorcycle reference with a second reference that teaches a *car* having a diesel engine and two wheels, and make an obviousness rejection combining the two:
Quote
transmission + (gas+four wheels) + (diesel+two wheels) => transmission + gas + four wheels.

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Karen Hazzah
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zeric

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Re: Is this an improvement patent?
« Reply #8 on: 04-20-11 at 04:47 am »

I see.

So basically, what should one do?

I really didn't want to just start manufacturing my product without some kind of 'protection' that a patent may issue just to find out latter that other guy patented it and now I'm the one not able to produce it.
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