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A patented invention may infringe an existing patent

A patented invention may infringe an existing patent

Your patented invention may infringe existing patents

Your patent prohibits your competitors from producing, selling or using the protected invention.  However, it does not confer you automatically a right of producing, selling or using this invention since some aspects may be covered by third parties’ patents.

In the evolution of a technology, first key features are oftentimes protected by an original patent, conferring to the precursor patent holder a protection for 20 years.  During this period, other parties can invent improvements, and protect them by filing additional patents. However, these patented improvements can fall within the scope of the original patent. It is also possible that some features of these developments (the material, a small piece, or the way several parts cooperate together,…) are protected by other existing patents, sometimes from another field of technology.

Therefore, it is not because these improvements are patented that their patent holders can use them freely.

In summary, getting a patent does not provide you with a right to produce, sell or use your invention.  If you want to do so, it is necessary to study the freedom you have to operate your invention.

Don’t hesitate to contact our Patent Experts for all your patent-related questions.

Evelyne Gridelet

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