Articles

The Complete Guide: Types of Patent Infringement

Having a patent gives you the right to prevent others from making, using, or selling your patented invention. If a company or individual does one of these things, the patent owner may have a cause of action for patent infringement.  If you believe someone has infringed on your patent or if you have been accused of patent infringement, reach out to an experienced patent litigation lawyer as soon as possible. Your lawyer can evaluate the claim and provide you with legal advice.  At TPLF, we can provide you with that advice.  We have been advising clients on patent infringement related issues for more than 25 years.  Please give us a call – we would be happy to talk to you.  The initial consultation is at no charge. What Is a Patent? The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) grants patents to inventions that are new, useful, non-obvious, and not excluded from patent eligibility under federal law.  A utility patent typically lasts for 20 years from filing of the application.  What Are the Different Types of Patent Infringement? There are several types of patent infringement. Infringement can be direct or indirect, and it can be literal or under the doctrine of equivalents. Direct v. Indirect Infringement Direct infringement Direct infringement occurs when someone directly violates your patent rights. That is, they make, use, sell, offer to sell or import your patented invention. Indirect infringement Indirect infringement occurs when someone provides support for a directly infringing activity. Indirect infringement can be through inducement or contributory infringement. Induced infringement Induced infringement occurs when a party with knowledge of the patent encourages or influences someone else to commit acts of infringement. For example, the person might provide someone with instructions for creating the patented invention. Contributory infringement A person commits contributory infringement when they supply components of a patented invention knowing that the components will be used to infringe a patent. For contributory infringement to exist, the component must have no substantial non-infringing uses. For example, if someone sold a product that would be useful only if combined into a patented product, that might be considered contributory infringement. Literal v. Equivalent Infringement Literal infringement Literal infringement occurs when a device or process literally meets every limitation in a patent claim. If even one component is different, it cannot be considered literal infringement. Infringement under the doctrine of equivalents If someone has not literally infringed a patent, there still may be infringement under the doctrine of equivalents. Equivalent infringement may occur when the corresponding pieces of the accused product or process are not substantially different from the corresponding limitation in the claim of the patent. What Is The Effect Of Willful Patent Infringement? In the case of willful infringement, a court can triple the amount of damages that it would normally award to a patent holder. Infringement is not literally willful if an infringer had a good faith belief that it was not violating the patent or that the patent was invalid. In that case, they may still be liable for infringement.  What Types of Remedies Are Available for Patent Infringement? Remedies for patent infringement may include injunctive relief and damages. An injunction orders someone to stop their infringing actions.  Money damages are typically awarded for patent infringement under the patent laws, a patent owner is entitled to at least a reasonable royalty.  Additionally, in certain instances, a patent owner may be able to recover lost profits from an infringer. How Can The Polasek Law Firm Help You? John (Ted) Polasek has spent the past 25 years working on all types of patent infringement cases. He has experience with both enforcing patents and defending accused infringers. Ted believes in providing one-on-one personalized service for each client. Call or contact The Polasek Law Firm today to set up a free consultation with Ted and learn how he can help with your patent infringement case.

Continue Reading
Articles

What Does a Patent Lawyer Do?

If you have an idea that requires a patent, you should consider consulting with a patent lawyer.  There are many things a patent lawyer can do, such as advise you on the process for obtaining your patent and help you protect it against infringement. What Is a Patent? Patents can be used to protect any number of ideas and inventions, including: A formula; A process or method; A tool or product; An engineered plant; or A machine. To be patentable, the invention must be original and nonobvious. Patents last from 15 to 20 years, depending on the type of patent. Do You Need a Lawyer to File a Patent Application? You can file a patent application on your own, but it is always a good idea to have a lawyer help you. When you write a patent application , you need to make sure your idea meets all the qualifications for a patent and that you describe it clearly enough to adequately protect it. For example, you need to: Determine which type of patent application to file and whether you need multiple patent applications; Determine whether you need to file a provisional patent application while you prepare your regular application; Explain how the invention works; Demonstrate that the invention is new;  Explain how the invention will be used and why it is useful; and Explain each part of the invention in detail. If you don’t prepare your application correctly, the patent office may reject it. Or even worse, the patent may not adequately protect your idea. Even if you want to do some of the initial draftings on your own, you should have an experienced patent lawyer review your application before you submit it. They can point out anything that might be missing or need more explanation. What Does a Patent Lawyer Do? A patent lawyer can help you with anything related to your patent, including obtaining the patent, licensing your invention, and protecting your patent from infringement. Obtaining a Patent As discussed above, a patent lawyer can draft or review your patent application and help you get your patent approved. Having a lawyer?s assistance as you apply for your patent can help speed along the process and ensure that your patent is adequately protected. Licensing In many cases, the person who creates an invention is not necessarily the person in the best position to manufacture, market, or sell it. Often, you will need to license your patent to actually earn money from it. There are many potential benefits of licensing your patent including: Getting your product to market more quickly; Limiting your liability; Not having to devote your own resources to manufacturing the product; Potentially having a more established name behind your product; and The ability to more easily enter foreign markets. There are many options when it comes to licensing your patent. A patent attorney can advise you on the type of license that makes the most sense for your patent. They can also help you negotiate the license with prospective licensees so you can get more favorable terms. Some things you may discuss with your attorney include: Whether you want to grant someone an exclusive license or license the patent to multiple parties; Whether your licensee will have the right to grant sublicenses to others and under what terms; How you will be paid; How long the license will last; and What actions the licensee needs to take to maintain the license. Patent licenses are complex contracts. They include many detailed provisions that help define and protect your rights and those of the licensee.  You do not want to sign a license agreement without consulting with an attorney. You deserve appropriate compensation for your ingenuity and creativity. An attorney can help protect your interests and see that the agreement appropriately values your patent. Infringement A patent gives you the right to prevent others from using, making, or selling your invention. Nevertheless, there are always those who try to profit from the hard work of other people. If someone else infringes on your patent, it can drastically affect your ability to make money from your invention. However, you have the right to take legal action against patent infringers. If you believe someone has infringed on your patent, you should talk to a patent attorney right away. The longer the infringement continues, the more you stand to lose. Your attorney will likely start by sending a letter to the other party to insist that they stop infringing on your patent. If they refuse, then your attorney will file a complaint in court. They will also likely request a preliminary injunction that will require the other person to stop what they are doing until the matter can be resolved.  Because time is of the essence and there may be a lot of money at stake, it is important to have an experienced patent litigator help you with this process. What Can a Patent Attorney at Polasek Law Do For You? John (Ted) Polasek has been practicing patent law for 25 years. His practice focuses on licensing patents and litigating patent infringement cases. Ted is committed to providing personalized service for each of his clients. This includes flexible fee arrangements that take the needs of individual clients into account. Ted offers a free consultation to discuss your patent-related questions. Call or contact him online to schedule your consultation today.

Continue Reading