Microsoft Patents 'IsNot'

"Martin v. Löwis" martin at
Tue Nov 23 00:08:25 CET 2004

Tim Roberts wrote:
> Claims 1, 15, and 21 are the only independent claims.  If claim 1 is deemed
> invalid, because of the obvious prior art, then all the claims that
> elaborate upon it (that is, 2 through 14) are also invalid.

Is that really the case? My understanding of patents is that, even if
the more general claim might not be granted, a more specific one might
be. For example

1. a device to move from point A to point B

2. a device like in claim 1, at a speed faster than light

Clearly, 1 is not novel, but 2 is, so claim 2 might be granted. Then,
people could still build cars and planes, but need a license to build
a rocket that travels faster than light.

My understanding is that things were slightly different if somebody
else would already hold a patent on claim 1 (or be granted such a
patent later). Then anybody building a car would need a license from
that inventor, and anybody building a rocket that travels faster than
light would need *two* licenses: one to build vehicles at all, and
one for the very fast ones. This would include the patent holder
of claim 2 himself, who would also need a license to build his own
invention (for the "move from A to B" part).

Of course, my understanding of patents might be completely wrong.


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