Miami, FL asked in Patents (Intellectual Property) for Florida

Q: So this guy was granted a patent for a 2 cylinder engine design. decided on a different design under the same patent?

I finally found the patent number he claims is for the current model which is a completely different configuration but using a modified version of the original patent. He claims that makes the current design patented also. I disagree! I think he got a crooked patent attorney to trick the system into looking like the same patent number applies to this upgraded and different design configuration. He is also using prior art of an existing expired patent so I don't get how he could qualify his alleged invention as novel. The patent is based on half of a major moving part of an engine i.e. instead of 2 pistons horizontally opposed on the same plane with no offset as in a conventional engine, he cut it in half and is using it for single cylinder application in a standard inline 4 cylinder configuration. Is he and his patent attorney pulling a fast one? Are they violating any patent regulations or laws or legal issues or policies? The current design is listed as under consideration by uspto..

1 Lawyer Answer
Peter D. Mlynek
Peter D. Mlynek
  • Patents Lawyer
  • Moorestown, NJ

A: I don't think that we are able to guess whether the patent covers the improved engine or not, based on the description alone. A couple of notes:

(1) It is very common that a company comes up with an invention, gets a patent for it, and keeps improving the product. The question whether an improved product is covered by patent is a common one.

(2) You need to appreciate that a patent gives the patent owner negative rights, not positive rights. What that means is that if someone owns a patent, then he can prevent others from making or selling that same product. The patent does not give the patent owner the right to manufacture or sell the product covered by the patent.

(3) What (2) means is that it really does not matter if patent covers an improved product that the patent owner makes and sells. What matters is whether other people's products are covered by the patent.

(4) It sounds like that you and your friend are on different wavelengths. I recommend that you hire your own patent attorney to evaluate the patent and any products that you may have a question about.

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