In reference to the patent: US5769598

What exactly is protected with this patent number? Is it the exact design of the current "Don't stack" corrugated piece? Can the design be altered and not interfere with the Patent?

  • As an aside, the patent appears to expire 11 July 2016 (i.e., a little under 5 months from how, as I write this). After the patent expires, the invention is available for anybody to use. Feb 11, 2016 at 1:30

1 Answer 1


The Claims describe exactly what a patent covers. In most cases, the first claim is the most general.

In this case, the first claim says "A combination stacking damage detector and antistacking warning device, comprising:" and then lists four items.

If a new design did not satisfy all four of these items, then it would not be infringing.

  • This is a good answer. It would be even better if it mentioned the expiration date. Maybe because I'm a mechanical engineer, but this was one of the most comprehensible patents and set of claims I've seen recently.
    – Eric S
    Dec 31, 2016 at 17:50

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