I have an idea for an message encryption method that is almost identical to another patent. However, that patent states that it uses only characters to encrypt the text while mine uses a hexadecimal conversion to produce a different end result.

Would my idea be patentable because it uses a different number system to encrypt the messages and returns a completely different string of characters at the end?

The link to the Patent is here.

  • We won't be able to tell you whether your invention will definitely or definitely not infringe on the existing patent (or, by extension, whether you could patent yours), but if you'd like to edit the patent number you're referring to into this post, we might be able to help clear up the meaning behind it, and what exactly it covers. – Matthew Haugen Apr 28 '16 at 3:57
  • Erosion; Are you sure you listed the correct patent because it teaches little on encryption? – 3dalliance Jul 13 '16 at 23:31

It sounds to me to be an obvious difference between your invention and the prior art. I am of ordinary skill in the arts of programming and encryption and ASCII vs. Hexadecimal is an obvious difference:

These are the examiners guidelines in regard to obviousness:


A quote from this reference:

(a) A patent may not be obtained though the invention is not identically disclosed or described as set forth in section 102, if the differences between the subject matter sought to be patented and the prior art are such that the subject matter as a whole would have been obvious at the time the invention was made to a person having ordinary skill in the art to which said subject matter pertains. Patentability shall not be negatived by the manner in which the invention was made.

A patent would not be issued and even if it was not considered obvious by an examiner you would have freedom to operate problems from the previous cited patent. You would likely have to license the previous patent to practice your hypothetical patent.

However your listed patent only mentions encryption as one of the dozens of non-patent references. So it seems to be a moot question.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.