If A+B is an invention that solves a problem previously unsolved, wouldn't it be illogical not to allow it to be patented just because A and B are already patented?

For example, when A and B are combined the new invention A+B is completely unrelated to A or B, so why not patentable?

  • 1
    This question asks about a situation where A and B are already patented. Their patent status is completely irrelevant to any question of patentability of any combination. When prior art is evaluated during patent prosecution it is evaluated for what it is and what it teaches not it’s patent status.
    – George White
    Apr 8, 2022 at 14:16

2 Answers 2


It is patentable if it meets the requirement of non-obviousness or inventive step, depending on how you call it. If it is obvious to combine A and B to solve the problem, then it is not patentable.


My perspective is that the result of the combination is more likely patentable if result is unexpected or surprising to someone skilled in the field. Lets say chemical A increases a drugs potency by 2X and chemical B increases the same drugs potency by 2X. If the combination of A and B increases the potency by 10X it would be surprising and potentially patentable. This is especially so if the mechanism for the synergy is new.

On thing to remember, is that getting a patent on A+B does not avoid the infringement of A or B's patents. A patent does not guarantee freedom to operate.

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