Q: If a patent exists similar to my idea, am I still able to produce and sell my product?

If there are variations in my product to the original patent or the original game what are the legalities around this? Can I still sell this product or do I need to get it patented, etc?

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

A: 1) Patents expire at the end of their term and some die early. Step 1 is to ensure that this patent is still in force.

2) To infringe a patent, there must be at least one claim where your product has every required element of at least one claim. This is where a patent attorney can help you sort out if they patented a broad concept or a narrow nuance that your product does not have.

3) You may be able to get a patent on some nuance in your product that is not the earlier patent but that does not help you if you have all the required elements to infringe at least one claim. For example, it would be possible for a mountain bike to infringe a patent on a basic bicycle if the basic bicycle patent was not timed out.

This forum helps people identify issues but good answers are going to require working with a patent attorney that spends time to carefully review the patent of interest and your proposed product.

I hope that this helps.

Kevin E Flynn

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