Let's bring an example :

Independent claim 1: It is an awesome equipment to detect X,

dependent claim 2: the equipment of claim 1 detects X using a fork.

If it was granted, would it mean that no one can file a patent to detect X because I already did? even if he uses spoon to detect X?

  • Hi Ahmad. Thanks for another great question. I'm worried, however, you might get a confusing answer because you're conflating two different things in patent law. "Infringement" is a concept of the courts. After you have obtained a patent, you ask a court to give you damages or an injunction when someone else does something your patent claims. Whether someone else can obtain a similar patent has to do with "patentability" -- which is a much broader concept. Can you edit your question to be more specific about whether you care about "infringement" or "patentability"? Thanks!
    – PatKilg
    Jul 30, 2015 at 15:49
  • @EntropyWins Thank you, I did, I hope I got your purpose.
    – Ahmad
    Jul 30, 2015 at 18:44

1 Answer 1


Anyone should be able to obtain a patent for an invention they made that is novel and non-obvious (indeed, sometimes patents slip through that aren't novel or are obvious). Your patent disclosure's power to prevent others from obtaining valid patents is proportional to how much it renders obvious. It would likely not render obvious all possible equipment for detecting X, thus allowing others to patent equipment for detecting X that is not based on the technologies described in your patent disclosure.

Note that a limitation specifying an intended use (to detect X) is generally not a proper way to limit a claim to a machine (as opposed to a method). In this example, your claim fails to contain any reasonably limiting structural features. Among other possible ways to dispose of the claim, it could be rejected by any example of an "equipment" found in the prior art.

Patent claims that purport to claim all possible machines or methods for achieving an end invariably turn out to be invalid for one reason or another.

  • True, but suppose that I am the first one who just says "A method to cure HIV" without mentioning my solution in an independent claim, do they accept this claim? then, does it mean that no one in future can have such a claim as independent claim, but can make an independent claim such "To cure HIV using Y". I mean would it make me the inventor with the title of "Curer of HIV" (sorry for my bad English) or for example the inventor of light.
    – Ahmad
    Jul 30, 2015 at 19:02
  • suppose that I am the first one who just says "A method to cure HIV" without mentioning my solution in an independent claim, do they accept this claim? No, such a claim would never be granted.
    – Atsby
    Jul 30, 2015 at 19:48
  • I am not sure if you got my meaning. I don't mean not to provide any solution at all, just to say that in an independent claim (however I provide my solution in dependent claims), then you say how my independent claim for this patent should look like?
    – Ahmad
    Jul 30, 2015 at 20:00
  • @Ahmad You won't get a patent claim granted without some part of non-obvious solution in it (and even if you somehow do get such a patent claim granted it will be easily invalidated). It would be much better to write an independent claim that contains some broadly-claimed solution elements, and you should consider hiring a patent attorney or at least reading a few books on how to file patents before proceeding.
    – Atsby
    Jul 30, 2015 at 20:07
  • Thank you! I had several questions, and my main confusion have been the role of independent and dependent claims. I try to study more about it. Just now I feel you see any claim (no matter independent or dependent) something that should contain a solution (broad or narrow) which is not obvious. And each of them separately should be defyable. Am I right?
    – Ahmad
    Jul 30, 2015 at 20:24

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