Q: Do patents forbid any part of an invention, or just the exact invention from being copied?
For example, if a patent describes a luxury aircraft seat with a certain method of reclining and with a certain kind of tray table configuration, would the patent be violated if another manufacturer copies only the tray table configuration? Or, is the patent only violated if both the tray table configuration and the method of reclining are copied?
A: Good question. It does not matter what the patent describes. What matter is what the CLAIMS recite. If the claims recite both the table tray and the recline mechanism, then copying only the tray or the recline mechanism will not infringe the patent claims.
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