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Looking at patent GB2418423A it seems to be very similar to GB2327668

e.g. GB2418423A claim 1 is

  1. A dispensing device comprising a housing having an upper loading chamber, a dispensing chamber located beneath the loading chamber and a gate means movable between a first, open position and second, closed position to allow s selective communication of the loading chamber and the dispensing chamber, entry to the lower chamber being by means of door means, the device further comprising a locking means which prevents the door means from opening when the gate is in the open position and which prevents opening of the gate means when the door means is open.

whereas GB2327668 states:

  1. A dispensing device comprising a housing having an upper loading chamber, a dispensing chamber located beneath the loading chamber and moveable gate means adapted to allow selective communication of the loading chamber and dispensing chamber.

Apart from the locking means they seem to be almost identical, so would it be possible to invalidate GB2418423A?

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Almost identical in most cases means that one is an improvement of the other, which is patentable.

Both patent applications you have cited have later been granted (for the difference between application and grant see for example here).

The difference, as you said, seems to be:

entry to the lower chamber being by means of door means, the device further comprising a locking means which prevents the door means from opening when the gate is in the open position and which prevents opening of the gate means when the door means is open.

(Claim 1 was granted like this).

If you want to know if the patent can be invalidated, you either need to find this feature in the other patent you cited or in another document that can be combined (read: is from a similar technology area or would be considered by a person skilled in the art for other reasons) with the other patent.

I'd suggest first checking the prosecution history (you can find that if you follow the google patents link, then the espacenet link for example) to see if the examiner did consider the patent you cited during the examination.

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    You beat me to the punch this morning. Patent GB2327668 is cited in the later patent, so I'm assuming the examiner considered it. – Eric Shain Mar 17 '17 at 15:15
  • Thanks for the reply. On further examination it looks as though GB2327668 will expire in a few months as it has a priority date of 29-07-1997. Once this date has passed, would it be OK to produce a dispensing device as long as it doesn't violate the locking means claim from GB2418423A? – ChrisR Mar 20 '17 at 12:15
  • @ChrisR as you have proven well here, there can be more than one relevant patent for an invention. Now theoretically there should be no newer patent with claims encompassing exactly this as then this patent would have been prior art. But if your locking means has any kind of specialization/difference not described in the patent there could be a newer patent protecting it. (If that's not clear please ask it as a new question, that allows longer answers and others will see the question too and explain it differently) – DonQuiKong Mar 20 '17 at 12:22

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