I have recently been interested in creating a "better" solution for transporting bikes within a vehicle, specifically an SUV. Without getting into details, I believe that I have designed a completely universal bike rack which would fit any SUV on the market today. It seems that someone had the same idea and has build/patented a design, that being said I have a few questions.
First of all, Google says the patent number is ep1582406a1. If you put this into google search you can see the document I have been viewing.
This patent number does not register in the US patent database, what does this mean?
Is this patent valid in the US even though it was filed in Germany?
My product is different in design but similar in function, should I be concerned?