I am working on an Herbal remedy, and thought I should get a patent. I found an existing patent in 2008, that has a combination of very different herbs for the same remedy. We may have some cross over on minor combinations, However these formulas have been around for hundreds of years in Eastern medicine. Not sure if I am infringing on the other patent because we are trying to accomplish the same remedy?
Many different inventions share a common goal. Goals are not patentable, but ways of achieving goals are. Of course, what you are claiming (either a composition of matter or a method of treating a condition) must be novel and non-obvious in light of everything that has gone before including the hundreds of years of Eastern medicine, and must have been invented by you.