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I am in the process of submitting a patent application to protect a certain utility for optical sensors. Question: Can I protect the use of any type of sensor in this patent? OR do I have to submit application for all different types of sensor that could be utilized for the same application.

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Without knowing more I would cover all the sensors that matter. If all the sensors are doing the same job, and are not the "cool part" you can almost just list them. . If you need very different set-ups of the rest of the inventions's apparatus to use different sensors, the examiner might assert that the application covers more than one invention or more than one "species" of a common invention. That is fine. You pick one to go forward with first and can file later applications (keeping the orig. date) to pick up others. –  George White May 6 '14 at 22:11

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