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Scope Of Protection FAQ

What rights does my patent give me?

A U.S. patent gives the holder the right to exclude others from “practicing” the claimed inventions in the United States.  “Practicing” means making, using, selling, importing, or exporting.  If you want patent coverage in a foreign country you need to secure a patent in that foreign country.

How broad is the coverage on my patent?

A U.S. patent gives the holder the right to exclude others from “practicing” the claimed inventions in the United States.  “Practicing” means making, using, selling, importing, or exporting.  If you want patent coverage in a foreign country you need to secure a patent in that foreign country.

Can I have multiple patents on the same invention?

In a technical sense, the answer is "no." the scopes of the claims in the different patents necessarily differ from one another, so they are not directed to the “same invention.”  In a practical sense, the answer is "yes. " Applicants often file multiple applications on different aspects of an invention.  Those applications can proceed in parallel, or then can be prosecuted sequentially.  In addition, the patent office regularly issues "restriction requirements" on applications filed with multiple independent claims.  In that case the applicant either needs to drop the excess claims, or prosecute them in one or more separate applications.  Still further, many applicants file a divisional or continuation after the patent issues, just so they can keep something pending.

Does my U.S. patent protect me in foreign countries?

Generally not.  Patents are almost entirely national, so that a patent in the U.S. will not protect you against manufature, sale or us in a foreign country.

It is illegal to import a patented product, or a product made using a patented method, into the U.S.  There is also some recent case law under which U.S. district courts can exert their authority over actions taken in foreign countries; the so-called extra-territorial enfocement of U.S. patent rights.  Eolas v Microsoft, 399 F. 3rd 1325 (Fed. Cir. 2005);  AT&T v Microsoft, 414 F, 3d 1366 (Fed. Cir. 2005); Union Carbide v Shell, 425 F.3d 1366 (Fed. Cir. 2005).  There is a good analysis in Strategic Patenting.

end faq