Westminster, CA asked in Patents (Intellectual Property) for California

Q: Can I file for a patent on a product that is already made but doesn't currently have a patent?

For example, I currently sell a Spray Bottle, however, I didn't invent it. If there's no patent on the item, could I file for one? Or would I have to change something about it? If so, is there a way to something about the product to file my own patent for it?

2 Lawyer Answers
Kevin E. Flynn
Kevin E. Flynn
  • Patents Lawyer
  • Chapel Hill, NC

A: Patents are intended in reward inventors. If you did not invent the product, you cannot patent it.

You may be able to patent an improvement to the product as long as whatever you do is not obvious to someone that designs spray bottles. But you would need to invent this or pay someone to do the inventing on your behalf. The actual inventors would listed as inventors but you could be the assignee that controls access to the patent rights.

Note -- that your new patent a modified spray bottle cannot stop people from selling the old spray bottle that is not patented.

If you found this answer helpful, you may want to look at my answers to other questions about patent law are available at the bottom of my profile page at


Kevin E Flynn

Marcos Garciaacosta agrees with this answer

Marcos Garciaacosta
Marcos Garciaacosta
  • Patents Lawyer
  • Mesa, AZ

A: Most likely not.

You are limited by how long it has been in the public.

Consult with an attorney.


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