The USPTO and its laws

"protect" your

invention only within

the jurisdiction

of the U.S.A., and its

territories - not abroad.

FAQ Scope of Patent Protection
...filing multiple patent applications
  
What rights a patent grants?

A patent will not prevent others from infringing on your invention. However, a patent can be used for offensive purposes, meaning you can sue someone trying to copy, sell or simply use your invention. By the same token, a patent belonging to others may prevent you from practicing your patented invention. This may occur if your invention is nothing more than an improvement of an existing invention.

How broad are patent rights?

The answer to this question depends on two factors. First, where you file your patent application will have a big impact on your coverage. The United States Patent and Trademark Office protects (excludes others from practicing) your invention in the jurisdiction of the Unites States, and its territories. Although it's a single jurisdiction, its coverage applies to a significant chunk of the industrialized world. However, to protect your invention in other jurisdictions, you will have to work on patenting your invention in other countries. Second, the scope of your coverage will also depend on the range of the claims that the Patent Office will approve. This is the essence of any patent application, the more novel features you put into your claims, the narrower will be the scope of your patent. By the same token, if the claims' design is too narrow a competing patent could be designed around them, however, if they are too broad the approval of them is not likely.

Can I file multiple patents for the same invention?

The answer is, as always, depends. First and foremost, you should have no trouble filing both a utility patent application (focusing on functionality of an invention), and a design patent application. (focusing on the visual aspects of an invention). Be that as it may, you will not be able to file two patents targeting the same scope of an invention. Meaning, you will not be able to get two utility patents for the same invention. However, you might be able to secure two utility patents focusing on different aspects of the same invention.

What is a restriction requirement?

When inventors are attempting to broaden the scope of their invention, by filing applications containing multiple claims, the Patent Office issues a restriction requirement demanding reduction of  those claims. In such cases, the applicant can remove some of the claims, and simply dispose of them entirely. The other option is to prosecute them as a detached  aspect of the original invention, by filing a separate application.

  

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