Patents are about “No”, not “Yes”

Patents are the original party of “no”. They never say what a patentee is allowed to do, only what others are not allowed to do. So, while patents are a “limited monopoly”, this is true only in the sense that at most the patent holder has permission to work the patent.

A first consequence is that filing a patent describing your product, even if a patent is granted, does not mean you have freedom to sell the product. It is generally true that nobody else can file for that invention, but they can obtain a blocking patent or perhaps previously own a blocking patent.
For example, Alice invents the car. WOW! But Bob has previously obtained a patent to the wheel. Or, Charles later obtains a patent to the brake. In both cases, Alice cannot sell any cars without the permission of Bob or Charles. Typically, Alice will obtain patent licenses from Bob and Charles. This is a very common situation for technology products and less common for pharmaceutical products.
A corollary is that a manufacturer should expect to spend money on licensing.

A second consequence is that a patentee and his patent attorney must identify those features of a product that cannot be avoided. A narrow patent on an unavoidable feature beats a broad patent on a very impressive but avoidable feature. Consider; would you buy a car without an air conditioner? Maybe. Would you buy a car without a “reverse” gear? Never. Even though you do not drive much in reverse, probably using it less than 1% of the time (example due to Motti Teicher).

So, what do you want to say “no” about? Tweet: So, what do you want to say “no” about? @maierfenster