Short version: Are there or has there ever been a law suit against a patent inventor for a utility patent not fulfilling it's claims?

Long version: If a small company or individual were to be granted a patent for something such as DNA sequence with claims that it could say cure a disease, and it was later found out that the claims could not be fulfilled by the description on the patent, could the inventor or assignee be litigated for damages caused by attempting to use the invention described in the patent?

One inspiration for this question is the notion that patents can be marketing hype and some people may interpret the term "patented" as implying that the invention passed an FDA test.

  • You realize that in the US you can't make a medical claim for a product without it being approved by the FDA. In any case, it is the assignee not the inventor who would be sued.
    – Eric S
    Commented Jul 13, 2020 at 22:44
  • I did not realize that. The question is intended to extend beyond only medical claims. Commented Jul 14, 2020 at 23:37
  • George White’s answer is a good one.
    – Eric S
    Commented Jul 15, 2020 at 1:00
  • Yes, that explained it clearly. Thanks! Commented Jul 15, 2020 at 6:00

1 Answer 1


The inventors responsibility, as an inventor, is to truthfully sign the declaration regarding being a true inventor and fulfilling the duty of disclosure and candor to the USPTO during the prosecution of the patent.

It would be the marketer/producer that would have any liability for a shipping product based on the patent. A patent doesn't confer the positive rights do anything in particular to the owner of the patent. It only provides the negative right to try to stop someone else from practicing the claims.

It is well known that the USPTO does no research or experiment to determine is something works. Only something very, very impossible on its face - like perpetual motion - gets rejected as "not useful". In fact you can get a patent on something that looks like an attempt at perpetual motion if you say the utility is that it is entertaining to watch it spin around for a long time.

The specification of a patent can/must make assertions about the usefulness of the invention and "patented" as a marketing hype is often done, but as @EricShain points out, it is a product from some manufacturer/marketer that is hyped to consumers, not the idea of the invention itself.

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