Patent infringement and how to avoid it in 5 steps
Patent infringement is a serious matter and may end up costing, you and your business, lot of money in legal fees, damages and restitution. Misfortune on the infringement of a patent is that it can happen by accident and is commonly.
Generally when a person manufactures or sells a product that uses a patented technology, this person would be in violation of the patent. In case of patent infringement, the unauthorized user can receive a letter of termination and forbearance by the owner of the patent. Holder of a patent could be to an order to stop the unauthorized user of manufacture or point of sale containing the patented technology and they can also seek damages and restitution, which can be costly.
Patents in general are only valid in the country where they are registered, mainly because they are very difficult to apply globally. For example, if a patent was filed in the United States, American companies or individuals are prohibited from using the patented technology in their products, unless of course they have the permission of the proprietor in the form of a license. However, a company or a person from another country may be able to use the same patented technology in their own products, as long as they remain in their own country.
If you have been accused of patent infringement and have recently received a letter of cease and desist, the following 5 steps should be taken in charge right away:
- The first thing you need to do is know what the patent number of the technology is that you have been accused of violating.
- Once you have acquired the patent number check to ensure that the patent is actually properly registered.
- The next step is to check whether the person or company who sent the cease and desist notice is in fact the registered owner of the patent.
- If withdraws, you should request a copy of the patent record so you can study in detail.
- If you determine that the patent holder has a legitimate case against you, you must change the technology of your product or try to obtain a license from the patent holder.
However, if you do not want to go through the hassle of sent a letter of cease and desist, you can make sure you don’t infringe on a patent at the beginning of your product search. Although it is tedious, especially in the early stages of product development, research all aspects of your technology looking for potential patents that you might infringe, it may be worth it in the long term. This is, of course, if you have the resources, time and money to spend.
If you have money at your disposal, you can follow the other proactive option, which would insure patent infringement. Like any insurance policy, patent infringement insurance is provided by an insurance company and can be purchased either by the inventor or by a third party. This insurance will cover any risk of accidentally infringe on a patent. The policy will cover all legal costs for the parties, those prosecuted and those making continues. It should be noted, however, that this option is rarely used, such as the infringement of a patent; the insurance can be very expensive.