This should be said right off the bat: one of the main benefits of patenting your invention is that it makes it harder for others to “get around” your patent. So you’re starting at a disadvantage than if you were inventing something completely new.
Assuming your idea is different enough to be patentable, there are are critical things to ponder when deciding if you should invest the large sums of money patent registration – and enforcement – requires on an idea that is similar to another patent out there. My two cents? Being in a different industry does help. This is because the patent covers the method of doing something, not the end result. However, none of that will matter if the two patents are too similar.
It’s a sticky situation, for sure. Over the years, the government has made it difficult for inventors to meet the requirements to obtain a patent so there is a chance you’ll mess something up attempting to do it yourself. Your best bet would be to talk to an experienced patent lawyer, like the ones you can find on(full disclosure – I’m the CEO). Our site offers free no-obligation price quotes and flat-fee pricing.