Mostly, patents assume normal gravity condition.

Imagine a device which would not work upfront in low or absent gravity.

Would a modified device but working for same purpose and all other considered physical principles not changed, so modification has been done just to support changed gravity condition.

Is this worth of a new patent or is there still a dependency (because of same general idea) or even infringement?

1 Answer 1


All inventions must be new, useful and non-obvious to be patented. I suppose new can be assumed, and useful would be likely met. The major factor that would matter in this case is obviousness to a person having ordinary skill in the art per 35 U.S.C. 103. If it is easily and accurately predictable such as using a spring with a different spring constant then you will likely be denied. If there are unexpected results that require experimentation to resolve a useful answer such as containing particulates in zero gravity, then you are more likely to be granted a patent.

  • 2
    Think about all the special toilets, food storage and water recycling on the space station. All of that requires special design.
    – A. K.
    Aug 24, 2018 at 17:41
  • A very good answer, but the question specifically asked about the worth of a patent. This implies to me economic value. If there is a very limited market, then it might not be worth pursuing a patent even if the invention qualifies for a patent.
    – Eric S
    Aug 24, 2018 at 18:43
  • @EricShain, I believe he meant "worthy" which would make the answer appropriate.
    – A. K.
    Aug 24, 2018 at 18:58
  • Perhaps you are right. People should, however consider the commercial viability of patents.
    – Eric S
    Aug 24, 2018 at 20:07

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