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I recently had a great idea and sadly I found out there’s a company in the US that produces and sells the same product and they hold a patent design … I know patent laws are territorial so I’m not allowed to sell there or manufacture there( USA ) ..my questions is : if the same company finds out I’m selling the same product here in the UK, because I’m sure they will as I have a big market for this product , can they request a patent design in the Uk ? And stop me from continue to sell the product ? At the same time I don’t want to be a victim of “unfair competition laws “ .. I pretend to ship everywhere else , less the US of course .

2 question : because I can’t patent this idea that already exist by this company in the US , theres anything I can do to prevent from having competition in the UK? By this I mean only my company can sell the product and no one else in the UK can sell the same … thank you

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  • What does “ At the same time I don’t want to be a victim of “unfair competition laws “ .. I pretend to ship everywhere else , less the US of course .” mean?
    – George White
    Jan 30, 2023 at 1:50
  • You say “patent design”. Di they have a utility patent (regular patent of the workings of something) or a U.S. design patent on the looks of it? Their numbers start with a D. It might make a big difference to the answer.
    – George White
    Jan 30, 2023 at 1:56
  • If you know of an existing patent, please list the number. That way we can search for an equivalent patent in the UK.
    – Eric S
    Jan 30, 2023 at 16:55
  • As far as u know they hold 2 patents - U.S. Patent No. 11,317,726 / U.S. Patent No. D927,891 S
    – user28359
    Jan 31, 2023 at 2:36

2 Answers 2

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Assumption - you are taking about (normal) utility patents that cover the actual functioning of an invention.

There are time limits for filing in follow-on countries. In the straightforward way of filing in the UK after first filing in the US, the time limit is one year. Since it generally takes over a year to have a US patent granted it may already be too late for them to file anywhere else. On the other hand they might already have an application pending in the UK.

And there is another way of getting a UK patent by filing a PCT application within a year of the US filing. (I am assuming the first filing was in the US.)

A PCT filing delays the choice of countries and could lead to a decision to get serious about a UK patent by entering the national stage in the UK up to 30 months after the first filing or by entering the regional phase at the EPO at the 30 month point. An EPO patent can then lead to a UK patent.

You should first double check that there really is a granted US patent. Many people who post here about a “patent” are actually looking at a publication of a patent application, not a granted patent. If the number starts with something that looks a year, it’s an application. This does not mean there isn’t also a granted patent but, if so, it is a different document. When you look it up you can (if in google patents) click on Global Dossier and see where else it might be filed.

An important consideration is that there may be a patent in the UK held by a completely different patent owner that covers some aspect of your planned product. Imagine you are planning to make an electric lawnmower but some patent on a manual lawnmower blade is infringed by your product. People can have a freedom-to-operate search done to dig these up.

Regarding getting exclusive rights in the UK - I think you know that since you didn’t invent the product you can’t patent it. And patents that are already granted or even published are prior art to anyone elsewhere in the world who happens to independently invent and tries to get protection. They can’t because it isn’t new to the world. I do not know of any way to get exclusivity than a patent but being local first-mover, good brand name and powerful distribution partners can help.

I do not particularly recommend this, but disclosing the patent number most likely will get you a much better answer here because we could look up its history.

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  • As far as u know they hold 2 patents - U.S. Patent No. 11,317,726 / U.S. Patent No. D927,891 S
    – user28359
    Jan 31, 2023 at 2:39
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I won't try to duplicate George White's fine answer. I will review the two patents you cited in comments. The first is US11317726B2. This a utility patent. It was applied for on June 6, 2016. I clicked on the Global Dossier link to search for other patents in the family and couldn't fine any. There is a newer US patent application US20220225783A1 you should be aware of. This is only an application so it may not get granted and if it does get granted the claims may be changed. USD927891S1 is a US design patent. Design Patents cover the ornamental design of functional objects.

The bottom line, is that the cited patents are all US and don't seem to have any equivalents in other countries nor does there seem to be pending applications. That said, freedom from one patent doesn't imply freedom from all patents. The prudent thing to do would be a "Freedom to Operate" analysis which is usually performed by a patent attorney. Lastly I would like to point out that I am not a patent lawyer myself so I can't provide legal advice. I always advise consulting with an actual patent attorney.

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  • Hi Eric , thanks a lot for having a look … didn’t know about the new patent .. but it’s pretty much around the same thing right ? Regarding everything else , I have green light here correct ? Patents are territorial and I can’t find anything in the UK regarding their patents .
    – user28359
    Feb 1, 2023 at 23:05
  • @user28359 You should post questions as questions, not comments.
    – Eric S
    Feb 2, 2023 at 4:54
  • @user28359 The second application is still an application not a patent. It's claims may change. A new patent needs to have something about it new so it may be a refinement to the original patent but we won't know for sure what is protected until or if it gets granted.
    – Eric S
    Feb 2, 2023 at 17:12
  • @user28359 Nothing I can see impacts your selling in the UK, but as I point out that doesn't mean there aren't other patents you don't know about.
    – Eric S
    Feb 2, 2023 at 17:13

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