We are designing a lock mechanism that has an open indicator as one of the features. We have found that the open indicator is a subordinate claim in an existing patent where a lock mechanism specifically for locking a car trunk is claimed. The lock mechanism we are designing is not for a car trunk but for a different door. Would use of the indicator feature be infringement?
State/Country relating to question: California
To infringe a patent claim, you have to do everything the claim says. From what you write here, it sounds like you don't do everything the claim says. They say "car trunk" and you do "door". Hopefully, there are other details that they specify that you also do not meet? The more you find, the safer you can feel. The fewer, the more risk you have of them convincing a court that what you did is "close enough".
If all you have is door versus trunk, then think about why they specified trunk but not door, and if the reasons will make a court sympathetic to your position (it's a big difference!) or the opposite.
Hope that helps. Good luck.
Professor of Law at Top-Tier Law School, specializing in patent & copyright
They claim many more capabilities for their lock in the primary claim that we are not including and the capabilities seem to be very specific to the type of door that they locking. Thanks
Great! Then you are very safe. Good luck.
DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.
The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).