In short, lets say I made a chair. A fully implemented chair with X, Y, Z features. I have a working prototype and details on how each part of the chair works, and what the features can do.

However, there is a broader patent that seems to have already been written out, but none of the implementation is used. The idea is very broad, and solves the same thing, and can be applied to the same thing, and even looks similar to yours with slight variation according to the diagrams. But the use of wording, such as "in this embodiment of the invention" suggests that there has been no implementation of algorithms. To continue the analogy, they say what the chair can do/look like, but don't say how it is done. Vaguely, it would be worded like this: "One embodiment of our invention can do X. Another embodiment can do Y." Their patent is already granted, and has been recently granted in 2015.

Overall, I feel the patent, while basically has the same concept, accomplishes the same goals, and even highlights some of our features, doesn't go into any of the details, and what details they do give make it significantly different. But with this language, they say our invention "COULD" be my invention.

Can my work be patented, in light of this broader, granted patent?

1 Answer 1


If the details of your implementation are not disclosed by the previous patent, and more generally, if they are novel and non-obvious in light of the entire body of prior art (including the previous patent), then you could obtain a patent whose claims are limited to implementations that include (some of) those details.

That said, your patent would not exclude the coverage of the previous patent—it is possible for something to be covered by the claims of multiple patents, even patents with different owners. If your implementation is a method that includes every step of a claim of the previous patent, then performing your implementation would still infringe that patent (regardless of the existence of your own patent or patent application). Analogously, if it is a device that includes all of the elements of a claim of the previous patent, it would infringe. Of course, the other patent may not be valid, and so you could seek to invalidate it if desired (but this can involve lengthy & expensive legal proceedings).

  • The main problem is that the patent is broad since there seems to be no static implementation in the competing patent. It's a rough UI that is similar to ours, but not exactly. In addition, the patent is an authentication technique, so the algorithm is the most important part.
    – Xenorosth
    Apr 2, 2018 at 22:57
  • 1
    The subject matter protected by the granted patent is defined by its claims, not by the broad language of the specification. An infringement analysis would involve examining each independent claim of the granted patent and determining (separately for each claim) whether you perform every step of the claim. Apr 2, 2018 at 23:39

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