Can i patent an existing product [With Pictures]

Last updated : Aug 2, 2022
Written by : Tristan Reid
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Can i patent an existing product

Can you patent something that already exists?

Can you patent an existing product? No, you cannot get a patent on an existing product because it does not meet: the novelty requirement and. the inventorship requirement.

Can you patent a product that is already on the market?

You may ask, "Can I patent a product that already exists?" It's possible that existing products are protected in other ways besides "patenting," such as through a trademark or as a trade secret. A product's function or design that has features considered public domain isn't strong enough to obtain a patent.

What happens if you patent something that already exists?

Taking something that already exists and finding a new use for it is considered an invention, and worthy of a patent. This patent does not cover the old product, instead it grants a patent on using the old product in a new way.

Can you patent a modification to an existing product?

If you own a patent, you have possession of a product or design and others cannot make, sell, or use it. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) grants patents for improvements made to existing products or innovations similar to already-patented products.

What things Cannot be patented?

  • literary, dramatic, musical or artistic works.
  • a way of doing business, playing a game or thinking.
  • a method of medical treatment or diagnosis.
  • a discovery, scientific theory or mathematical method.
  • the way information is presented.
  • some computer programs or mobile apps.

How much does patenting cost?

A patent can cost from $900 for a do-it-yourself application to between $5,000 and $10,000+ with the help of patent lawyers. A patent protects an invention and the cost of the process to get the patent will depend on the type of patent (provisional, non-provisional, or utility) and the complexity of the invention.

How do I know if my idea is patented already?

Inventors are encouraged to search the USPTO's patent database to see if a patent has already been filed or granted that is similar to your patent. Patents may be searched in the USPTO Patent Full-Text and Image Database (PatFT).

How long does a patent last?

A U.S. utility patent, explained above, is generally granted for 20 years from the date the patent application is filed; however, periodic fees are required to maintain the enforceability of the patent.

Do patents expire?

Patent Expiration Utility patents expire four, eight, and 12 years after issuance of the patent if the maintenance fees are not paid at these points in time. The patent actually expires at 3.5 years, 7.5 years, and 11.5 years, but there is a six-month grace period in which to pay the maintenance fee.

Why do patents cost so much?

Because patents are valuable to have and expensive to infringe there will always be those who seek to get around your rights. The job of the patent attorney is to make sure that doesn't happen to the greatest extent possible. That requires a lot of time and energy, which translates into money.

Why has Coca Cola never been patented?

The reason why there's no patent on it is to ensure the recipe remains undisclosed. A patent is only good for 20 years, which means that after that, the recipe becomes available to the public. The original formula was patented in 1893, but the recipe changed over the course of time and it was never patented again.

What products can be patented?

Nearly anything can be patented. Machines, medicines, computer programs, articles made by machines, compositions, chemicals, biogenetic materials, and processes, can all be the subject matter for a United States patent.

What ideas can be patented?

An invention can be patented if it has a useful purpose, has patentable subject matter, is novel, and is non-obvious. The patent could cover a composition, production process, machine, tool, new plant species, or an upgrade to an existing invention. Inventors must meet certain government guidelines to get a patent.

What is a poor man's patent?

A poor man's patent is essentially writing out a description of your invention and then mailing that written description to yourself. This postmarked envelope supposedly acts to create the date of your invention as the date this written description was postmarked.

Can I file patent myself?

You can file a patent application on behalf of yourself or your co-inventors. Alternatively, you can hire a registered patent agent or attorney to file your application for you. Patent applications require both legal and technical expertise and even small mistakes can dramatically compromise the value of the patent.

How can I get a patent with no money?

The Patent Pro Bono Program attempts to match inventors with registered patent agents or patent attorneys. These practitioners volunteer their time without charging the inventor. However, the inventor still must pay all fees that are required by the USPTO; these cannot be paid by the practitioner.

What makes a product patentable?

To be patentable, the invention must be statutory, novel, useful, and nonobvious. Certain requirements, such as novelty and non-obviousness, may involve conducting a preliminary patent search with the assistance of an attorney or agent.

How long does it take to get a patent?

In the United States, it takes an average of 24 months from the filing of a patent application to get a patent.

What are the three types of patents?

What kind of patent do you need? There are three types of patents - Utility, Design, and Plant. Utility patents may be granted to anyone who invents or discovers any new and useful process, machine, article of manufacture, or compositions of matters, or any new useful improvement thereof.

Can you sell your patent?

Selling a patent allows the inventor to generate income that will help pay the bills or finance other promising ideas. Selling a patent outright also eliminates the huge financial outlay required to start up a business based on a new product.

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Can i patent an existing product

Comment by Esther Fricker

hi I'm John Rizvi the patent professor a common question I get is whether you can file for a patent on a product that is already made but that currently doesn't have a patent well in order to file for a patent you must be the inventor now if you find an existing product and you modify it or you apply it in a unique method you might be considered the inventor and you can proceed with your own patent you can also improve existing products and if your improvement is seen as being new useful and it's not an obvious variation of what already exists you could qualify for a patent some examples of obvious improvements that will not qualify are changes in size or changes in color or shape of course if there is some obstacle that you're able to overcome by changing the size for example making a hearing aid significantly smaller or it's changing the shape or color allows you to overcome an obstacle then these improvements could be seen as being non-obvious and you still might qualify if you're not sure if your improvement qualifies for a patent give me a call I'm John RISD the patent professor you

Thanks for your comment Esther Fricker, have a nice day.
- Tristan Reid, Staff Member

Comment by Joshua

you have an idea for an invention but it's really just a small tiny slight change on an existing product can you move forward with that product and can you patent it stick around because you're gonna find out hi everyone I'm Alex Reid the founder of invent insight an online platform with affordable and free online courses and resources for product development and product licensing for anyone that's looking to bring his or her idea to market in this video we're going to review inventing and patenting improvements on existing products and we're gonna do this by looking at the history of a well known simple product the paperclip it's a great example of improving existing products and how patents play into that now before we get started I want you to take a guess just a guess and how many patents there are on the paperclip I think you're gonna be surprised let's go check it out here's an answer that always surprises me when I ask someone do you have an idea and they say yeah but it's really just a slight tiny change improvement on an existing product I said oh that's great lucky you because what you have is an idea to improve an existing product and that's one of the best ideas to have I also get this question a lot what if my idea is already patented can i patent something that already exists so let's take a look at that first thing is one take a look at the definite of invent create or design something that has not existed before to be the originator of but here's the example they give he invented an improved form of the steam engine so basically he improved the steam engine with something that didn't exist before and that he was the originator of so when you think of inventing improving is a big part of invention in looking at improving existing product examples my favorite is a very well known simple basic staple product the paperclip let's take a journey and check out a little history on the development the invention of the paperclip and the patenting of the paperclip this is really interesting we're on a site called the early office Museum and I've loaded up the page on the history of the paperclip there's a few things that I want to show you scroll down now this is the first one it was patented in 1867 to Samuel they now what's interesting is it's described as a clip a ticket fastener to be used in lieu of a pen to fasten tickets to find fabrics that's what this gentleman wanted to patent but what's really interesting is the patent noted could be used to attach a paper ticket to other pieces of paper so that's really where the whole paper clip started and then as you scroll down you'll see different types of clips and the date that they were patented and there's a little information over here on the history of that paper clip or the company or even their advertising it's quite a long list so I'm not going to go over every one but the one I wanted to point out the most is the gem now the gem paper clip is kind of the paper clip that we think of today we see a lot in offices it's used as standard and this was not patented but they did do a trademark for the gem paper clip so as you can see different people are coming up with improvements on the paper clip either by design material all kinds of different ways to improve the paper clip and all these patents that were awarded but I want to show you here we go this is the improved gem paper clip and it was patented in 1903 you can see it has a little bit of a lift on the lip here I scroll down a little further because I wanted to show you this all right so these are obviously three variations of the gem clip they're slight changes so this one was patented in 1921 and it says this type of clip had many equal space perpendicular serrations on the long it's only so you can see that right there and then three years later another change was patented in 1924 and it said this type of clip had fewer indentations than the Colette type clip as you can see there and then in 1927 there was another patent awarded and this type of clip had many equal space perpendicular serrations all along the wire so you can see that here and then as we know today we see paper clips with a light coating of rubber on them so somebody came up with that later on down the road but what this shows is that they're patenting a slight improvement change on an existing product so jump on this site and check it out I think you're gonna find it really interesting now let's go back to some of the questions can I patent something that already exists what if my idea is already patented I put together kind of a chart so that we can take a better look at this and of course I wanted to stay on the paperclip as being the product so let's take a look at this we'll come here with my pointer so you have Mike let's say Mike invented the gem and he patented the gem product in 1997 now Joe over here so wow I have a great idea to improve that Jim I'm gonna coat it with it's non non-skid coating and he patents that improvement for the non-skid coating in 2015 so here's what happens if the improved product is still protected by a patent then Joe can't make or sell that product with his improvement he can only patent the improvement now if that gem patent expires in 2017 which it will after 20 years it becomes public domain which means that anyone can manufacture and sell that product because it's no longer protected by the pattern so Joe can wait two years or better yet he can approach Mike and say look I've got a great idea for an improvement on your product so they can draw up a licensing agreement and it can go a couple different ways Mike can license his gem to Joe so that Joe can make it with his improvement make it and sell it with his improvement or Joe can license the nonskid improvement to Mike and that kind of is what happens a lot with inventors product designers or product developers or everyday folks that come up with improvements they all approach the Mike who has the product is manufacturing it has everything in the pipeline and they'll say hey guess what Mike I have a great idea for an improvement maybe Joe doesn't want to get into the whole manufacturing and starting a business he was just clever enough to come up with a great improvement on a product but Mike that's an advantage to have an improvement on his product so most likely Mike will license that improvement from Joe and that's what's so great about licensing improvements on existing products because basically really Joe just needed to file a provisional patent application for $70 do some of his due diligence then also get his concept in presentation mode format and call up Mike and say hey I've already started the patenting process but here here's my improvement are you interested now remember when we looked at the office museum - the gem paperclip was never patented and even if it had been it would have long been expired and that's why we saw all these improvements on the gem paperclip and once it's in the public domain like I said anyone can make and market the core product with the improvement now before we wrap up I want you to remember the question I asked you

Thanks Joshua your participation is very much appreciated
- Tristan Reid

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