Patent Attorney: Denver’s Mark Trenner Answers…

Patent Attorney: Denver's Mark Trenner

Can I use a product already on the market as part of my own invention?

Inventors often call Denver-area patent attorney Mark Trenner and ask whether they can use a product already on the market as part of their own invention. There is nothing to prevent you from using an already existing product in your own invention, unless of course someone else has a patent for that product.

The vast majority of products on the market today are in the public domain. That is, these products are not protected by any patent rights, and once purchased, can be used for any legal purpose by the purchaser. This includes enhancing the product and making it better – and even patenting those improvements for yourself.

Even if a product on the market is protected by another patent, you may can still apply for a patent for any improvements to that product. The patent on the underlying product simply prevents you from making, using, or selling that product without permission (usually in the form of a payment under a license to the patent owner) of the patent holder. But the patent does not prevent you from applying for your own patent for the improvement. You’ll simply need to negotiate with the patent holder for the underlying product before you make, use, or sell your product if it is covered by another patent.