Can You Amend a Patent to Add an Improvement to the Invention?
Many inventors make improvements to an invention after a patent is
granted and ask us if they can amend the patent.
Unfortunately, under United States patent law you can
not amend the patent to include the new
subject matter reflecting the improvement you made to the invention.
You will have to file a new patent application for the improvement to the
invention instead of filing an amendment to the patent.
Filing a Patent Application for the Invention Improvement
If you have child patent application pending from the granted patent (i.e. parent), you can possibly file a continuation-in-part patent application. Alternatively, if you have a continuation application pending you may be able to amend the claims of the pending continuation application to cover the new version of the technology. If no pending patent application exists that is related to the patent, then you will have to file a new patent application. Keep in mind that a continuation-in-part patent application or new patent application can be rejected by the USPTO as being unpatentable over your prior granted patent.
You will have to speak with a patent attorney to see if your improvement
is sufficiently different to provide reasonable arguments for patentability
over your prior granted patent. You will also want to consider having
a patentability search performed for the improvement prior to filing a
patent application since new patents may have been granted since you
received your patent that could affect the patentability of your invention.
Submit Your Invention Improvement for Review
If you have an improvement to an invention that has been patented and would like our help in determining if you can seek patent protection for the improvement, please submit your improvement to us via our Invention Disclosure Form (make sure to identify your patent number in the Comments section).