Numerous businesses and individuals file for patents every year. This is done so that the person can receive money from whatever invention he or she made. It can be easy to think that once you have received your patent, everything is all well and good. However, it is entirely possible that someone will invent something that is starkly similar to yours. Patent litigation may be pursued so that your best interests are protected, and if you succeed, then you could be entitled to monetary damages.
What Is Patent Infringement?
Infringing on a patent occurs when a business or individual creates or distributes an item holding a patent without the express written permission of the party that owns the initial patent. You must file a lawsuit against the infringing party within six years from the date in which the infringement took place. If you discover someone has overstepped your patent, then you are within your rights to file a lawsuit. This lawsuit must be filed within a federal district court because intellectual property laws are governed at the federal level.
In the event that you sue someone for infringing on a patent that you own, you should be prepared for that party to fight back by alleging that your patent is invalid. For example, an infringer may claim that your patent is not valid because fraudulent materials were included in the application you sent to the Patent and Trademark Office. The infringing party may also claim that your patent should not be considered valid by the courts because it does not meet the requirement of non-obviousness and novelty. This means that in court, you will need to prove that your invention was entirely unique or at least not an obvious upgrade to a previously existing item.
Different Types of Infringement
When you take an infringing party to court, the burden will be on you to show that they essentially stole your patent. In order to build your case, you will need to familiarize yourself with the different forms of infringement that can take place and try to show which one the defendant exercised.
- Willful Infringement: This is the most severe kind, and if it is proven that a party acted on this form, then they may need to pay out much higher damages. This is when a party willfully invented something that blatantly infringed on someone else’s patent. This is more likely to occur if a party did not hire an attorney to look over their patent application, because an attorney would absolutely inform someone if their invention was completely similar to someone else’s.
- Direct Infringement: This form takes place when a party manufactures an item that is covered by a patent without the authority of the patent owner.
- Indirect Infringement: This occurs when a party aids or at least encourages someone to infringe on an established patent.
- Literal Infringement: This happens when the infringing invention and the words within the patent application overlap significantly.
- Contributory Infringement: If a party provides the infringer with parts or resources that would have no substantial infringing use on their own, then that party could still be seen as liable.
If the infringer is found guilty, then he or she must pay the individual who owns the patent with damages. This can include lost profits, court filing fees, related royalties and other related expenses. An injunction can also be placed on the infringing party so that they can no longer make the item in question. A preliminary or permanent injunction may be filed depending on where in the lawsuit you are currently at.
Do not lie back and be inactive when you find out someone is infringing on your patent. You could be losing out on a substantial amount of money, so file a lawsuit to protect what is yours.
The content on our website is only meant to provide general information and is not legal advice. We make our best efforts to make sure the information is accurate, but we cannot guarantee it. Do not rely on the content as legal advice. For assistance with legal problems or for a legal inquiry please contact you attorney.