Brooks Acordia Patent Attorney Explains Improvements to Existing Inventions
Los Angeles, CA (Law Firm Newswire) February 13, 2014 – Many patents cover inventions that are improvements over existing devices (as opposed to completely new devices).
Novice inventors and others new to the field of intellectual property often wonder whether a small improvement to a patented invention may ever receive patent protection of its own. But as a local intellectual property attorney explained, so-called “improvement inventions” actually constitute the majority of patents issued. Wholly new inventions are a relative rarity.
“Most patents, by far, cover improvements to existing technology,” said Los Angeles patent attorney Pejman Yedidsion. “Pioneering inventions are not that common. Many inventions consist of new combinations of old technologies that may produce unexpected results, or that stem from a long-felt but unmet need.”
One example of an improvement to existing technology was the Gillette Mach 3 razor, which had three blades — existing patented razors on the market had two at the time.
Improvements to existing inventions commonly utilize new technology to update older products. When microprocessors became widespread and cost-effective, many devices that used analog circuitry were improved with the new technology. Those improvements were eligible for patent protection.
Additionally, when a new use for an existing product is invented, that innovation may qualify for patent protection. For example, a product called Bag Balm, invented in 1899, was originally used in dairy operations to soothe a cow’s irritated udders. Over time, its use widened to the treatment of chapped skin for many animals and humans. Eventually, it was discovered to be an effective treatment for male pattern baldness, due to its moisturizing properties. In 2000, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit allowed a patent covering this new use of the 100-year-old formula.
“When an inventor improves upon an existing invention, no matter how small the improvement may seem, we encourage them to consult with us on the patentability of the work,” added Yedidsion. “You may be surprised at how useful small changes can be.”
Brooks Acordia IP Law, P.C.
1445 E. Los Angeles Ave. #108
Simi Valley, CA 93065-2827
Phone: (805) 579-2500
Fax: (805) 584-6427
- Prioritized Patent Examination
A few years ago the USPTO merged our clients’ desire for faster prosecution with the USPTO’s desire for currency to create the TrackOne Prioritized Examination program. Since then, we at Brooks Acordia have had great success in getting our clients’ applications prepared, filed, prosecuted, and issued within twelve months. Under the program, the USPTO promises a final disposition—a Final Office action or Notice of Allowance—within about twelve months for an additional fee ranging from $1,035 for a micro-entity to $4,140 ...
- Important Changes to Design Patent Disclosures
At Design Day 2013, USPTO Design Practice Specialist Joel Sincavage delivered a nine-page PowerPoint presentation that changed how design patent applications would be examined. The first page depicted an old-time baseball player hitting a baseball through a design patent. The next eight pages changed how design patent applications would be examined.<br />
Joel Sincavage announced that the USPTO would no longer be using the outdated standard of MPEP 1504.04 to determine whether converting solid lines to broken lines was new matter. ...
- Patent Reform by Executive Action: Part Two
President Obama has signed a series of executive actions to implement modest reforms in the U.S. patent system and to protect businesses from abusive patent litigation. Meanwhile, Congress continues to work on broad reforms.<br />
Our previous post detailed recent progress on five executive actions from last year. Now, we will look at three executive actions that have just been announced.<br />
Crowdsourcing prior art: The process of determining whether an invention is novel depends on finding relevant prior art. But many ...