If you have a vending machine that distributes beverages on the left side and cooks and distributes pizza on the other. Could this be patent? even though vending machines have already been patented distributing separate products

1 Answer 1


There was a famous case regarding putting an eraser at the end of a pencil. It was granted a patent by the USPTO but disallowed by the Supreme Court in the 1800's. The eraser didn't do anything different becasue it was attached to a pencil and the pencil didn't do anything different becasue it was attached to an eraser.

We do not use the term synergy in patent law but you need some functional interaction between the two old things.

And I would guess a search of google patents would turn one up that was already patented or applied for. This patent US7762181B2 Customised nutritional food and beverage dispensing system is more than your one sentence idea. What is patented is one, fairly general, way that such a machine might work. If you have a different, not obvious, idea as to how such a machine might work you might have a patentable invention.

  • I like to say there needs to be some unexpected advantage to combining two existing technologies. Otherwise there is no inventive step.
    – Eric S
    Commented Jan 13, 2020 at 4:06
  • To be picky, inventive step is not the criteria in the U.S. Here it is non-obviousness, probably a lower bar.
    – George White
    Commented Jan 13, 2020 at 16:22

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