I want to patent my product which does something based on your proximity to it, using your smartphone's GPS.

I'm searching for existing patents, and I found this one which is about an LED light, using a similar concept for the proximity bit.

My product has nothing to do with lighting.

But I noticed in the above patent, it has a line about communicating with the smartphone:

The communications and processing functions can also be integrated into other household and commercial electrical devices, such as wall outlets, light switches, plug in timers, appliances, and the like.

Does that mean, this existing patent covers all other products which involve changing behavior based on proximity using smartphone GPS?

Or since my product is not about lighting, can I still patent it?

1 Answer 1


You're mixing two things here.

The protection of a patent is defined by - and only by - the claims.

Protection only applies after the grant of a patent and the claims may change substantially between application and grant. You're citing an application, so no protection yet.

See here for more information about granting etc.

Filing a patent yourself has nothing to do with what other patents protect, only with the "prior art". In short, if your invention is obvious in light of what's known, you won't get a patent. If it's not, you will. In practice that means, if a person skilled in the art can combine known elements in a obvious manner (using elements from 2, maybe 3, prior art documents), your invention is considered obvious and not patentable. We have detailed explanations somewhere around here, search for non-obviousness or prior art. If I stumble across one I'll link it.

This leads to the problem that you might get a patent but not actually produce your invention because parts of it are protected by another patent. But that's a different topic.

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