Just a weird question.

Example: Let's say there was an expired patent that outlines a computer mouse with capacitive buttons. It has patent drawings of the components inside of it and provides descriptions as well as other info on the mouse. How would someone go about building the computer mouse that was described in the patent?

Please use the computer mouse example in your answers, please. Thank you!

2 Answers 2


Most likely you would simply buy a mouse that is on the market. This would be, by far, the cheapest and fastest way. Patents, in general, don't provide dimensioned drawings, schematics and custom integrated circuits. They are required to provide enough information so that someone skilled in the field could reproduce the invention. Skilled in the field in this case probably means an electrical engineer. The invention you mention isn't the whole mouse, just a specific combination of features. There is a lot of extra stuff needed that isn't patented such as interface circuitry, low friction pads, and driver software need to be added to make a working mouse.

With the advent of consumer 3-D printers, it is at least more practical to fabricate some of the mechanical components. However making your own working computer mouse, with or without a patented feature is a lot of work and requires a fair amount of technical expertise in a variety of disciplines. Perhaps adding the patented feature to an existing mouse would be a possibility, but I'd still be willing to wager it would be a challenge.


There are boutique production firms that have engineers and such around. It is going to be a very expensive mouse, comparatively speaking. In creating that mouse, they will be making good chunks of the elements of a production process for the mice. It might be just as expensive to get 100 of them as to get 1. Boxing would be a different story.

I'm sure you could ask Ideo. There are 100 alternative versions of Idea that cost less and give the same product.

Personally, I would sponsor a competition among engineering clubs, and put the fee as a prize. It could be a great experience for the kids, as long as you make it worth their effort in terms of recognition, publicity, and the competition experience.

Discovery channel should make a program where they have teams of engineering students re-create things from patents. Like west-coast choppers or something, only the students have to figure out how to make things that are reasonable using the patent. Maybe they find nearest versions on ebay, or if they have a great second-hand electronics store (Mendelsons in Dayton was 3 stories of amazing until Covid put it out of business. They had a fabulous tube room.)

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .