Question: Can someone patent an idea to cover things they didn't think about, kind of an all encompassing patent?
For example, lets say I invented the very first cordless phone. Could I patent the concept of a phone being cordless so no matter what wireless technology you used to make your phone wireless, and no matter what power source you used for it, you'd still pay me royalties because I came up with the initial concept that helped to get your mind down that path to come up with your new/improved version of the phone?
I ask as I've come up with a concept for an existing technology but using different power technology (DC instead of AC), as well as other technology changes. The end results however would be the same in that it would function just as well if not better than the already existing product.
Answer: In a patent, you need to disclose the details so that someone can practice and use the invention. Therefore, you are not able to patent a general concept, such as a cordless phone, unless you provide the details of how to make it cordless. These details would become part of your patent claims and limit the scope of your patent protection.