Patent Infringement: What to Do and How to Respond If You’ve Been Accused
There were a total of approximately 3.1 million unexpired patents in the United States in 2020. With so many patents covering inventions of all kinds, well-meaning companies may find that they have accidentally and allegedly infringed upon someone’s patent rights. As with other types of intellectual property, patent infringement is serious business. You may have wondered what to do if accused of patent infringement. What Is Patent Infringement? A patent gives its owners certain exclusionary rights. Title 35 of the United States Code, Section 271(a) provides that patent infringement occurs when someone makes, uses, sells, offers to sell a patented invention within the United States, or imports a patented invention into the United States. Whether the accused person knows about the patent is irrelevant to a finding of infringement; however, it may affect the amount of damages awarded. If the infringement is willful the court may enhance the monetary award up to triple the damages awarded. Additionally, Section 271 provides other bases for infringement that may be applicable to your particular situation. Your patent attorney will be able to evaluate infringement claims being made under Section 271. What to Do If Accused of Patent Infringement The first notice that you may be infringing someone’s patent may be a cease-and-desist letter from the patent owner’s attorney. This letter will likely identify the patent(s) you are allegedly infringing and the basis for the infringement charge. If you receive one of these letters, take it seriously. Consult a patent attorney without delay. However, a patent owner is not required to send a cease and desist letter, so your first notice that you are being accused of patent infringement may be service of the Complaint, which is the paper filed in Federal Court that initiates a lawsuit. Again, your first step should be to consult a patent attorney that is knowledgeable in patent infringement litigation. In either event, below are additional steps to undertake: Hire a Patent Attorney Even if you have an in-house attorney or engineering or scientific staff, it is unlikely they will be familiar with the nuances of patent law. A patent attorney will be, and they can assess the situation and give guidance on how to proceed. Gather Information Your attorney will likely ask you to start collecting information about the allegedly infringing product, and the patents listed in the demand letter or complaint. All this information is crucial to analyzing the strength of the infringement claim. Review the Patent Claims with Your Attorney Every patent contains claims that set forth the invention. Each claim is made up of several limitations that describe “the invention.” These claims are the “metes and bounds” of the patent owner’s exclusionary rights. In consultation with your attorney, review the claims in the patents. In general, infringement occurs only if your product or process meets all limitations of a particular independent patent claim. Your patent lawyer will guide you through the process of construing the claims and applying the claims to your accused product or process. A patent attorney’s expertise is crucial during this step. Develop a Plan to Handle the Case Once you have reviewed the situation, it’s time to come up with a plan to defend yourself. Your patent attorney will help you build a defensive strategy. Hire a Patent Infringement Attorney If your company is accused of patent infringement, The Polasek Law Firm can help you develop a plan to defend your company. Our mission is to provide efficient, economically viable solutions to the issues facing our clients. We offer our years of patent litigation experience at affordable hourly rates and flexible fee arrangements to meet your needs. Contact The Polasek Law Firm today through our form or give us a call at 832-485-3580 to schedule a free consultation. Read more..
Tips for Hiring an Affordable Trademark Attorney
Your brand name or logo is an important part of your business. Whether you sell goods or provide services, your brand is how customers identify you. Registering a trademark allows you to protect the association your customers have with the goods and services of your business. However, if you’ve spent any time researching how to file a trademark, you’ve probably seen that just the filing fee is going to cost a few hundred dollars. Some attorneys will charge a flat fee for filing an application; others will bill by the hour. Fortunately, finding an affordable trademark attorney is easy if you know what to look for. What Is a Trademark? A trademark is any word, name, logo, slogan, or symbol used to identify the goods or services of the seller. Because trademarks are identified with an individual’s or business’s goods or services, it is important that individuals and businesses in the same or similar spaces do not use trademarks that are likely to confuse consumers. Tip #1: Figure Out How Much Help You Need There are many steps to registering a trademark, whether it is with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) or with a state, such as the Texas Secretary of State. Knowing how much help you will need from an attorney is something to keep in mind when searching for an affordable trademark attorney. If you decide to consult an attorney, have the information ready. Your attorney will want to know what the mark is, who is using the mark, the date the mark was first used (if it is being used) and the date it was first used in commerce. If you are using the mark, your attorney will want a specimen of use of the mark. If you can readily provide this information to your attorney, it will streamline the preparation of the application. A trademark attorney will generally charge a separate fee for each step, depending on its complexity. The general process includes: Conducting a search for other marks that may be confusingly similar; Determining whether your mark is confusingly similar to an existing registration or pending application; Preparing and filing the trademark application; Responding to office actions, if necessary; and After registration, monitoring the trademark and filing renewal statements. How Much Does a Trademark Registration Cost? The cost of registering a trademark has two main parts: USPTO fees and attorney fees. At a minimum, filing a trademark application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office for one class of goods or services (i.e. one type of goods) costs approximately $350. When it comes to attorney fees, the exact cost will vary depending on the facts particular to your situation. Preparing and filing the application likely will cost several hundred dollars of attorney time. After the application is filed, it will be examined by the USPTO. Depending on what, if any, issues are raised by the trademark examiner will have a large impact on additional attorney time. Tip #2: Speak with Several Trademark Attorneys Many attorneys offer an initial free consultation. During this conversation, you have the opportunity to explain some basics of your situation and what legal services you need. Use this time to find out how much the attorney charges and what your specific needs will cost. It will also give you an opportunity to evaluate whether you want to work with that person. Ask yourself, was this attorney willing to take the time to discuss your matter and explain the process? Did the attorney return your inquiry/call timely? Tip #3: Consider the Attorney’s Experience How much experience they have can affect whether a trademark attorney is affordable. While more experienced attorneys are usually more expensive, this isn’t always the case. Experienced attorneys may be more efficient. It’s important to speak with any attorneys you are interested in to make sure you don’t pass up an experienced attorney with affordable rates. Hire an Affordable Trademark Attorney Before you search “affordable trademark attorney near me,” contact The Polasek Law Firm. If you’re looking for an attorney who won’t break the bank, look no further. Contact us today online or give us a call at 832-485-3580 for a free consultation. Read more..
Patent Infringement Damages Overview
As an inventor, owning a patent is one of the most rewarding things you can achieve. Successfully obtaining a patent on your invention requires significant dedication, time, and money. Unfortunately, however, individuals and entities do not always respect the protections provided by a patent. In fact, there were more than 225,000 patent cases filed in District Court in 2017 alone. If another party steals your invention and uses it without your permission, they have committed patent infringement. When this happens, not only do they take advantage of your hard work, but they can also cause actual harm to you. If someone infringes your patent, you may have a right to recover patent infringement damages. Of course, damages in patent infringement cases can vary widely from case to case depending on various factors. But if you have questions about your potential patent infringement damages and how you can maximize your claim, contact an experienced patent litigation attorney today. The Polasek Law Firm focuses exclusively on the practice of intellectual property law. Give us a call today to discuss your case and see what patent infringement damages you may be able to recover. Types of Damages in Patent Infringement Cases There are two primary types of damages in patent infringement cases: reasonable royalties and lost profits. A judge may award other types of damages in certain situations. However, reasonable royalties and lost profits are the most common. Reasonable Royalties A “reasonable royalty” is one type of patent infringement damages calculation. Essentially, a reasonable royalty is the fair market value associated with the use of your patent by the patent infringer. As you might expect, determining the fair market value of a particular invention might seem speculative and difficult to determine. Fortunately, there are a few different methods of calculating reasonable royalty damages in patent infringement cases. An experienced patent infringement attorney can help you understand the various calculation methods and determine which one will allow you to maximize the amount of damages in your particular case. Lost Profits A “lost profits” claim for damages, on the other hand, does not rely on the market value of the use of your patent. Rather, lost profits are calculated by determining the amount of money that the patent owner would have made if not for the infringement. Determining lost profits for purposes of a patent infringement damages calculation can also be complicated. This is often because the patent owner must be able to show a causal relationship between the infringed patent and the lost profits. Damages in patent infringement cases can be difficult to prove. However, that doesn’t mean they are not worth pursuing. In fact, a court may even permit expert testimony to assist in determining a patent infringement damages calculation. A knowledgeable patent litigation attorney can help you gather the evidence and information you need to help prove your patent infringement damages case. Contact a Patent Infringement Attorney Today Your patent carries important legal protections for your invention. When another party disrespects those protections, you have a right to take action. At The Polasek Law Firm, we take your intellectual property seriously. With over 25 years of experience handling intellectual property litigation, we have the resources and experience necessary to protect and enforce your rights. For more information on your potential patent infringement damages, contact us today and see what we can do for you. Read more..