During a market research, I found the patent EP1512055B1 from 2002. It protects a control-based balancing strategy for wheelchairs in a quite general way. However I know also about the published paper "Front wheel raising and inverse pendulum control of power assist wheel chair robot" from Yoshihiko Takahashi from the year 1999. It presents also a control-based strategy to balance on the rear wheels of a wheelchair. (In fact it uses the exact same method but 3 years earlier).

Therefore, I wanted to ask if the aforementioned patent is righteous?

In reference to the patent: EP1512055B1

1 Answer 1


If by righteous you mean valid, one answer is that EP1512055B1 is a granted patent and thus legally enforceable. I looked on Espacenet and the European Patent Register for cited documents and the Takahashi paper wasn't listed (which doesn't necessarily mean it wasn't considered). However, the equivalent US patent US7017686 does show the Takahashi paper as a non-patent citation. This means the USPTO knew of that paper and still found the patent sufficiently novel to grant a patent for. It is important to remember that what is protected by a patent is specified by the claims and patents that seem otherwise broad may be more limited once you parse the claim language. I'd have to carefully consider all the prior art to render an opinion on whether I personally feel the patent is justified and that is possibly beyond the scope of this site. Besides which, I am not a patent lawyer so my opinion doesn't carry much weight. Looking at the patent briefly, it seems to be related technologically to the Segway which was also invented by Dean Kamen.

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