I want to manufacture natural / ecological dishwashing detergent. There is a patented dishwashing detergent on the market with the same active ingredient, but the rest of the formula / other ingredients are different. The active ingredient is natural herbal extract.

Can I manufacture product like this?

The patent is pretty broad, specifying various natural ingredients and their various combinations, and their use in different cleaning products, including dishwashing detergens, and also the ratios of ingredients specified is extremely broad (i.e. 0.01 % to 40% w/w for each ingredient), but doesn't include my ingredients.

I would be manufacturing and selling the product in Europe.

  • If you could include the patent number, we can tell you if it is active or not.
    – Eric S
    Commented Mar 23, 2020 at 19:41

1 Answer 1


To avoid infringement, you need to implement each and every element in any single claim. Thus if a claim has elements A, B, C and D and your product only implements A, B and C, then you don't infringe on that claim since you don't use D. However if your product uses A, B, C, D and E, you do infringe as you implement each and every element of the claim. Simply adding an additional ingredient doesn't avoid infringement.

You have to focus on the claims. The body of patents often seem as though they are covering a vast amount of ground, but only the claims specify what is protected. Long complicated claims with many elements are actually narrower than short claims with few elements.

Lastly, you must make sure you are looking at an actual patent and not just a patent application. Patent applications often have overly broad claims written. The patent examiner will usually reject overly broad claims and the inventor's attorney will edit them narrower as needed to get a claim accepted. Also, not all applications get granted as patents and patents expire or become abandoned. So just because you find a patent doesn't necessarily mean it is a roadblock.

  • This is exactly what I needed to know, thank you, your response is much appreciated!
    – HungryBear
    Commented Mar 23, 2020 at 21:05

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