I'd like to point out I have zero experience with patents. I am a student engineer who is looking to develop a product. A company has already filed a patent for a very similar product. In claim 1 there is a list of instruments/mechanisms which the product relies on. My product would share alot of these but not all (the core functionality is the same). As for the other claims, some are in common, others not. I wanted to know if this made it impossible for me to commercialize my product or not? Thanks in advance for the help!!

1 Answer 1


If you want to be able to commercialize your product and be free of patent infringement your product needs to not fall under any of the claims of the patent you found (or any other that might be similar that you have not found yet). Falling under a single claim means your product infringes, so each claim must be analyzed against your product. The good news is that to infringe a claim, your product must have every element of that claim.

If a claim is to a mechanism with an A, a B and a C but yours accomplishes a similar result or purpose with an A and a C but has no B, then you do not infringe. However, adding a D to their A, B and C does not take you out of infringement because you still do have an A, B and C.

If A, B and C were a wheel, a spring, and a ball bearing, the claim would not just list those elements, it would define their interconnection and relationship. You too could have a wheel, a spring, and a ball bearing but have them arranged in a very different functional manner. In that case you do not have all of the elements of the claim even though the "parts" are the same.

To find other patents that may be relevant you can follow references to and from this patent both backward and forward in time. This is very easy with google patents.

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