I'm planning to attempt patent for a software product that performs a very large range of operations, and there is nothing like it out there. However, I'm sure that out of the giant sea of patents on just about every simple web-operation task out there, a few patents will cover some of the functionality of what my product does on a larger scale in a very new and useful way.

How can I judge whether or not my new use or improvement of various patented software technologies will constitute a new patent?

For example, Google was sued for Drive, on account that there is a patent on "technology that allows quick access to a common disk on multiple computers". I would think that Drive certainly would be considered as a "new use" for the very simple technology needed to quickly access a common disk on multiple computers. It seems as if patents like this are too simple and would damage any new progress in the industry of web streaming services for documents and files.

Among many other things, my technology certainly allows quick access to a common disk on multiple computers. That's easy. It's called loading the file into a server and reading / writing any streamed changes. So I'm trying to figure out what exactly is required for part of an invention to be considered new use or improvement.

  • I don't think that link (Google was sued for Drive) was what you intended -- it leads to coolrom.com.
    – user4545
    Sep 4, 2014 at 19:28
  • @user4545 yep, guess my link didn't copy. fixed.
    – J.Todd
    Sep 4, 2014 at 20:42

2 Answers 2


I assume you're referring to EEC's suit against Google from a few years ago. EEC claimed Google infringed upon US Patent 5918244, claim 1 of which reads:

A caching system comprising:

a network;

a plurality of computers interacting as a VMScluster on said network, each computer having a memory;

a plurality of I/O devices connected to said network;

a plurality of cache drivers, each resident in one of said computers, for creating a cache in the memory of the computer in which the cache driver resides for caching data from selected ones of said I/O devices, each cache driver including executable remote messaging code that forms a computer communication channel with a cache driver on any of said computers for sending messages relating to caching and means for listening on said network for a request from a new computer to connect to said network, said executable remote messaging code further saving a remote connection address for each of the communication channels.

You can argue about the scope of the patent claims and whether or not it should have been granted (note that the priority on the case dates back to 1994), but it very clearly is not a general patent on "technology that allows quick access to a common disk on multiple computers".


Well, obviousness is a tricky issue and at the core of (proper) examination work. Reams of case law exist on the issue.

There is a fairly good introduction in the corresponding Wikipedia article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inventive_step_and_non-obviousness

Beyond that, one would have to look at the exact wording of a given independent claim and evaluate it in the context of the specific most relevant prior art in this case. General statements based on single-sentence summaries of what one observer believes to be a fair representation of the "idea behind" a given patent are impossible.

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