Asked in Patents (Intellectual Property)

Q: Am I allowed to improve what is already patent and paten my modification to an existing item?

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

A: People file patent applications with improvements on previously patented inventions every day. The Bell patent on the telephone was issued more than 100 years ago. People are still patenting improvements to the telephone.

Now you may have to worry about whether the earlier patent is broad enough so that you cannot make your improved version as it falls under the broad umbrella of the original patent. But you will still have an asset that you could license to the original company or you could wait until their patent runs out, or you could seek a license from them for their original patent.

Lots of options. Best to chat with a patent attorney about the specifics.

Kevin E Flynn

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