I missed from the description some alternative embodiments, particularly some different structures/versions/variations. The claim is broad and it is not limited to the embodiments of the description but the alternative embodiments are not mentioned in my description. These alternative embodiments are well known and obvious to the skilled persons. For example, I have a published state of the art review paper that describes all these embodiments. Would that mean that I will be protected for these embodiments by my patent or do I need to file a new application to document these? The issue with filing a new application is that the examiner may not find it inventive because it is well known to the skilled person.

  • Are you trying to get patent protection for things you admit are obvious and which have already been published?
    – Eric S
    Jan 28, 2021 at 16:56
  • Or are you saying that, once given the invention, the variants are obvious?
    – George White
    Jan 28, 2021 at 18:00
  • Also, do have an actual issued patent of just an application? Claims in applications are very often broader than the subsequent patent.
    – Eric S
    Jan 28, 2021 at 19:21
  • I patent a device based on bolts where skilled persons already know the different types of bolts (e.g. square bolts, round bolts, etc). Choosing one bolt or the other may have some advantages but the function of the bolt device will still be the same. I have only mentioned in the description the square bolts but my claim does not limit the device to square bolts. Will I be protected against other types of bolts or will competitors build my device with round bolts and circumvent my patent? Or they can even patent it by claiming round bolts?
    – PCT-user
    Jan 29, 2021 at 10:52

1 Answer 1


If you have a granted patent with a broad claim, then you can enforce that patent against others who infringe upon it. If you are worried about some minor variations of the invention getting patent protection then publishing those minor (or even major) variations should keep anyone else from obtaining a patent on the variation. I say should because the patent examiner may not see your publication. That said, if you actually publish the technical details, and can prove it, you can keep anyone from trying to enforce their patent on that detail on you.

You can setup on Google Scholar alerts which will make you aware if someone cites your patent. This can alert you to patent applications that might be related to your patent. You can then contact the patent office with your prior art.

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