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I'm a french college student having a school project where we have to build an existing data glove from a public domain patent. We chose US5280265 which has been published in 1990 using strain gauges (as most of affordable data gloves available on market).

However, one of my team member showed us the patent: US20080129694 which has been published in 1994, and is almost identical to the previous one. We can't figure out the differences between both, and we are allowed to use only public domain technologies in our project, and can't understand how such broad patent (US20080129694) can be accepted.

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The newer document is not a granted patent. It is the publication of an application for a patent. Applications are published with no regard for their substantive content and no implication that they will or will not lead to a granted patent. In this case it did not. The application went abandoned. US patent numbers look like an number in the millions while published application numbers look like a year followed by a number.

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