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The Tower Garden, with patent number 7,055,282 describes a vertical aeroponic garden device. Many people have made similar devices over the years and there have been patents for some of them.

I have created a vertical garden that reuses plastic drinking bottles. The garden has similarities in the way it functions, i.e., it has a pump to deliver water from a reservoir to the top and the water drips down over the plant roots.

It seems to me that all the vertical gardens have these elements, so what must I avoid to not be violating a patent?

Thanks, Dan

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The Title and Abstract can give you a sense of the overall subject matter

7,055,282 - Hydroponic plant cultivating apparatus and the Abstract

However, the Patent Claims describe precisely, in technical terms, the extent of the protection conferred by a patent. For example, Claim 1 of '282 claims:

  1. A hydroponic plant cultivating apparatus comprising:

    • 1) a planting column having a hollow interior for receiving a planting medium;

    • 2) at least one planting port included in said planting column for receiving plants at least partially into said hollow interior for engaging said planting medium;

    • 3) a conduit integrally formed within and carried by said planting column extending axially through said hollow interior and said planting medium for channeling fluid from a bottom portion to a top portion of said column;

    • 4) a reservoir for holding fluid;

    • 6) a platform carried by said reservoir engaging said bottom portion of said planting column to mount said planting column in a generally vertical orientation atop said reservoir in fluid communication;

    • 7) a supply line connecting said reservoir in fluid communication to said conduit for directing fluid from said reservoir upward through said conduit; and

    • 8) a fluid distributor mounted atop said planting column in fluid communication with said conduit for distributing said fluid into said hollow interior; whereby fluid may be circulated through said planting column to provide nutrients to said planting medium for growing plants inserted into said planting ports of said column.

A device only infringes Claim 1 if it contains all of the 8 elements of the claim above. A device infringes a patent if it infringes at least one of the claims in that patent. So one would need to look at the other claims as well.

However, the title of the patent is often significantly broader than what is actually claimed by the patent.

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