There are 4 questions in this post:

I'm a bit confused about the claims related to adhesives in this patent about "non-skid absorbent pad" no: US 7249570 B1 http://www.google.com/patents/US7249570 It appears that the "adhesive members" and disposable covers for these "adhesive members" are protected so long as the "adhesive members" on the corners of a disposable pet pad.

A. Is the above statement correct?

B. Can someone patent the use of adhesives members so long as they are not on the corners?

Additionally, this patent was filed by before this patent application about "Bamboo absorbent pet pad" no: US 20120325160 A1 https://www.google.com/patents/US20120325160, but the latter patent mentions using adhesives with disposable covers in the product use description.

I understand that this is not part of the claims, but it appears that a licensing of the patent mention earlier in order for this person to produce and sell the pet pad that is described in the patent application.

C. Is that correct?

Finally, I have a general question:

D. Can someone patent the functions/ uses of existing patent in another patent so long as the other patent is being used for a different purpose?

Let's take a completely hypothetical scenario: For example, the pat no US 20120325160 A1 (a bamboo pet pad), let's say that it was used for the purpose of absorbing the oil dripping from car in a mechanic's shop. Is that "patent-able" and would it infringe on the original patent?

It would provide the same function as it does for dogs - but for cars.

Claim 1 is:

  1. An apparatus for a non-skid absorbent pad for use by animals, comprising:

    a) an upper absorbent layer for receiving animal wastes, said absorbent layer having a peripheral edge and a top and bottom surface;

    b) a bottom layer having a top and bottom surface, wherein said bottom layer is impermeable to fluids, wherein said top surface of said bottom layer is contiguous to said bottom surface of said absorbent layer, wherein said bottom layer has a peripheral edge extending beyond said peripheral edge of said absorbent layer, wherein said peripheral edge of said bottom layer extends around and over the whole peripheral edge of said absorbent layer so that a hem is formed contiguous to said top surface of said peripheral edge of said absorbent layer;

    c) a plurality of adhesive members being disposed on said bottom surface of said bottom layer so as to adhere the pad to an underlying supporting surface; and

    d) a fragrance layer being disposed between said absorbent layer and said bottom layer for attracting animals, said fragrance layer not extending to an edge of said bottom layer, said hem being colored green simulating grass.

1 Answer 1


Generally speaking, to infringe an apparatus claim you would need to make, sell, use or import an apparatus that has all of the characteristics required by the claim. So the answer to question A is that your statement is incorrect. The claim requires a fragrance layer, absorbent layer, and a particular hem. The adhesives members themselves, standing alone, are not protected by this claim.

B. What someone can make without running a foul of this patent and what someone can patent themselves are two entirely different questions that are barely related. That kind of a small change is the sort of thing people do to try to make something similar that does not literally infringe the claim. However, it may be a change that is seen as obvious so the inventor of that change might not deserve a patent. But if a small change makes a big difference in function, particularly in a surprising way, it could very well lead to a patentable apparatus.

C. I haven't studied the two patents but it often happens that a patented invention, if made, sold, etc. would infringe a different patent by a different inventor. You patent a paper towel dispenser. While that patent is in force, I make a motorized paper towel dispenser. Patented or not, my motorized one may very well have all of the characteristics required by one of your claims. I would need a license from you before I could commercialize my invention.

D. The patent in the example is for an apparatus. Although the intended use is often mentioned in an apparatus claim, it doesn't govern. I patent a very sturdy back scratcher and you make something exactly like it that is sold as a garden implement. If your garden implement's physical structure falls under my claim wording then you infringe. There are method claims that do define a use rather than a structure. In that case it the user who directly infringes, not the manufacturer and the use itself is what matters. The step, "put it near your dog" is a different step than "put it under your car" even if the "it" is the same thing. Of course, one method might be obvious in light of the other. In your hypothetical you could make a larger version of the pet pad and market it for mechanics. If it met the letter of an apparatus claim, you would need to license the original patent. If the different application dictated differences in structure then you might also get patents on that.

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