DOES NARROW PATENT BLOCK BROAD PATENT?

Posted by Michael Shimokaji | Aug 09, 2019 | 0 Comments

QUESTION: Does a patented limited invention prevent a broader invention from being patented? If I have an IP that is much broader than an IP already patented by someone else, can I patent mine? I'll give you a rough, but clear example. If Newton patented his energy formula E=mv^2 /2, and Einstein came up with his own broader formula E=mc^2 from which the Newton's formula can be derived as a special and limited case, can Einstein patent his formula? Does Newton's patent prevent Einstein from patenting his formula?

ANSWER: Not necessarily, but probably yes. Patentability depends on whether the invention to be patented is obvious over prior patents. Therefore, it is not always true that a narrow patent makes a broad patent obvious. However, it is likely that a narrow patent will make a broad patent obvious.

About the Author

Michael Shimokaji

Mr. Shimokaji specializes in the health care industry, including medical devices, medtech, and life sciences. Over the last 30 years, he has also supported clients in industries as diverse as aerospace, apparel, chemicals, computer software, and telecommunications. His expertise includes infringement litigation, patent and trademark portfolio development, and intellectual property transactions.

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