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Author Topic: Question regarding limitations of improvement patent  (Read 1944 times)

sb50

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Question regarding limitation/application of Improvement Patent:

Company “A” has a patent on  “product 1” set to expire shortly.  Patent basically covers the way product is assembled, two pieces thread together. 
Company “A” has designed now designed “product2” which provides same safety intent/utility for the end user as “product 1,” the only differences between product1 and product2 being in how the products are assembled..”Product 2” consists of 3 pieces, and assembles using a snap and a hinge assembly rather than the threading mentioned for “product 1”.

Can Company “A” file an improvement patent which ultimately prevents competitors from manufacturing/selling an identical product to “product 1” once its original patent expires?  This assumes none of the new specs/features etc. from product2 would be incorporated into the competitor’s versions of product1.

Thanks.
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Oh, Crud

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Re: Question regarding limitations of improvement patent
« Reply #1 on: 06-15-11 at 11:17 am »

Question regarding limitation/application of Improvement Patent:

Company “A” has a patent on  “product 1” set to expire shortly.  Patent basically covers the way product is assembled, two pieces thread together. 
Company “A” has designed now designed “product2” which provides same safety intent/utility for the end user as “product 1,” the only differences between product1 and product2 being in how the products are assembled..”Product 2” consists of 3 pieces, and assembles using a snap and a hinge assembly rather than the threading mentioned for “product 1”.

Can Company “A” file an improvement patent which ultimately prevents competitors from manufacturing/selling an identical product to “product 1” once its original patent expires?  This assumes none of the new specs/features etc. from product2 would be incorporated into the competitor’s versions of product1.

Thanks.


Nope.  In the scenario you set out, once the original patent expires, products identical to product1 are fair game for the competition.  By definition, the improvement patent must claim at least one feature that is new and not obvious.

But product1 is old - that is, it is already known to the world - and so (also by definition) it can not contain any features that are new and not obvious.  So product1 (and products identical to it sold by others) can not be said to infringe the claim of the improvement patent.

The trick for Company A is to do a slick job of convincing the marketplace that only new and improved product-2 is now worth buying.
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OMG IP

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Re: Question regarding limitations of improvement patent
« Reply #2 on: 06-15-11 at 01:07 pm »

If your PROCESS of manufacturing Article X is new and improved, then the actual PROCESS is subject to patentability, not necessarily the Article X.

Thus, once Article X is open game for anyone to make/sell, perhaps your new process will still give you a competitve edge over the competition.  Speaking generally.
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DEBOER IP
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sb50

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Re: Question regarding limitations of improvement patent
« Reply #3 on: 06-16-11 at 11:36 am »

Thank you for the replies.
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