Posted by Michael Shimokaji | Jun 25, 2015 | 0 Comments

Question: How different should a product need to be to be marketable without infringing on a patent?

Question Detail: I had an idea for a product I could market, not majorly, but in my spare time. I do not want to give the details, but I will give you an example. I know someone who makes do it yourself photobooths and sells them on It is a kit that helps you make it yourself so you do not have to pay the ridiculous prices to rent a photobooth. My question is is it patent infringement to market this kind of photobooth if the person who invented photobooths has a patent for them? Assume for the sake of the analogy the the person with the patent is the only one who sells them. How different from the patented product does my product need to be for me to market it without infringing on the copyright.

ANSWER: The difference to avoid infringement is not necessarily determined by the amount of difference. It is more about the kind of difference. Legally, the protection provided by a patent is defined by its patent claims. If your product completely falls within the four corners of a patent claim, there is infringement.

About the Author

Michael Shimokaji

Michael’s expertise includes the strategic development of patent and trademark portfolios. He identifies those patents and trademarks that are valuable to his clients by providing them with a competitive advantage. Then, Michael obtains patent and trademark registrations in the US and abroad.


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