Q: Regarding patent 9369170: What exactly is there a patent for here?
Covering cameras using a slide mechanism is obviously nothing new. How specific or non-specific is this patent? Does the patent refer to covering both cameras in one single slide while simultaneously leaving space for the proximity sensors? Or is it just for this very specific mechanism for the actual product?
I can not really grasp it from the text. I have no experience with patent nor laws and will be thankful if somebody can answer this.
A: This patent, like all patents, only provides exclusivity to the owner (or licensees) for what is recited in the "claims." Claims are the numbered sentences at the end of the PDF of the patent document, although they occur near the beginning of the html version of the patent on the USPTO website. In order to fall within the scope of the claim, the structures or activity of a potential infringer must include every element recited in the claim. In doing an initial, informal evaluation, you should focus on the details of the independent claims (those that do not recite "of claim X" - those are dependent claims). If questions about particular parts of the claim language are confusing, you should probably consider consulting a patent attorney.
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A: If you are looking to manufacture or sell a cell phone cover which is in some ways similar to that in figures 1 to 10, and you want to make sure that you do not infringe on the patent, then you should talk to a patent attorney.
The danger that you are running into is that claims of a patent (which define what the invention is) are always broader than the pictures in the figures. So, your product may be different and not infringe, or it may be different and still infringe.
With regards to your question, no attorney, including myself, without studying the patent and the prosecution history of the patent can provide you a reliable answer, but here is what the answer may be: the patent covers certain mobile device cases with movable lens cover that in the closed position cover either one or two lenses, but the sensor is uncovered.
Feel free to reach out to me if you need additional help.
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