Evans, GA asked in Patents (Intellectual Property) for Georgia

Q: Can you patent a specific thread dimension? We manufacture a product with a custom thread, Can a competitor match that?

1 Lawyer Answer
Kevin E. Flynn
Kevin E. Flynn
  • Patents Lawyer
  • Chapel Hill, NC

A: It would need to be something very unusual to get a patent on the specifics of the thread geometry. Virtually every possible combination of handedness, threadform, thread angle, lead, pitch, starts, has been done. There seems to be more appetite in the USPTO to grant patents for orthopedic bone screws but even that is hard.

You would need to talk in detail with a competent patent attorney to see if you have a reason why your thread would not be an obvious recombination of prior art concepts of creating a screw thread.

NOTE -- you said we manufacture -- if you are already manufacturing this, you may need to hurry as you need to file a patent in the US within a year of your first public use or first sale or offer for sale (whether public or not). So if you gave a firm bid to a client, that likely started the 12 month clock.

I am telling you this not to give you precise advice but to merely indicate that you may need to get an answer quickly from a patent attorney that looks at all the facts.

If you are worried about knock-offs of you threaded bolt, then you may want to consider applying for a fastener insignia registration. https://www.uspto.gov/trademark/laws-regulations/fastener-quality-act-fqa You can mark the head of your bolt. If people sell a competing product into the market, they won't be able to put your mark on the top of the bolt. Customers that rely on your quality will be able to detect knock-offs. This is more or a trademark concept than a patent concept but it may be helpful.

I hope that this helps.

Kevin E Flynn

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