What if they have more than one?
While the number can vary based on the patent, a patent can also go by a large number of names. For example, the Patent Office has granted more than 100 patents over the last three decades, and each of these patents has received many, many, many entries in the patent register.
There was one particularly impressive patent granted by the Patent Office last week. It’s a patent that allows companies to collect royalties for the “transportation” of digital data over networks of fiber that the company built in its own backyard. The data came from Wi-Fi networks in San Francisco and New York.
It’s the only patent covering that technology. And while those are the only networks that matter in this scenario — there are probably more — the important part about that patent is the way in which it applies to a very specific set of networks using that exact technology. The important thing that the patent says is that there’s this specific set of applications for that particular set of network technologies.
But there are other patents like this that aren’t as focused on their target and are often more general. That’s part of why it’s so important to know what types of patents are being granted and how much of a given application is really patentable.
What are the different ways that a patent, generally speaking, can be used?
In some cases, the only way that someone could be able to use a patent is by filing a patent application within the Patent and Trademark Office (PTO). This means that the individual filing the application gets to decide what’s covered under the patent.
And in a case like this, the application is what the court says is covered under the patent, or at least the scope of the application is covered under the patent. So if this were a more narrow case — say, a car repair business suing a competitor — and the specific claims were narrowly tailored on one part of their business, the court might only get to decide on a limited portion of the case.
If the application is broad, the court could decide to decide on more than just part of the business; that would allow the company to use the patent to protect their entire business. If the application was broad, the court could decide to decide on all of the business in case they wanted to use the patent to protect its entire business — or at least to cover every part of the business.
The important thing to pay attention to when considering whether a patent
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