• Charles Ferguson

What is Patent Infringement? How to Avoid and Deal with Patent Infringement

If you’re like us, you probably think of patents as that thing that Apple has on the iPhone. But patents can be a lot more than that. Some even say they are the cornerstone of entrepreneurship in the United States. The problem is that many people don't really know what patents are or how they work. If you're trying to figure out how to protect your idea, this article will give you a great starting point.


1. What is patent infringement?


If you’re reading this, you probably know at least a little bit about patents. But, what you may not know is that patent infringement is a type of Intellectual Property (IP) infringement. In other words, patent infringement occurs when someone uses a patented invention without permission from the patent owner.

But, what does it actually mean to use a “patented invention”? Most commonly, patent applications describe a physical structure or object that is new, novel, or improves on something already known. Patents help developers to protect their inventions. This helps ensure that updated or new versions of already existing inventions can be patented so that others can also benefit from these inventions.

However, for inventions that involve software, it is not required that the inventor has actually invented the invention. Patent laws generally grant invention is a helpful tool for protecting software inventions, but there are a few problems that can arise that can cause a patent not to be beneficial. First, a patent can potentially be infringed by non-patent-holders. In other words, someone could just create a similar, non-patented program using existing intellectual property. This type of practice, called Lesser Used Techniques (Figure 11), is known as Software Patenting.

Figure 11: Lesser-used methods of infringing a software patent

Another problem is that, in order to obtain a patent, an inventor generally has to provide documentation of the invention. This documentation usually includes details of the invention, how the invention works, when and how it was done, and whether it is claimed as patentable. If the documentation is based primarily on third party intellectual property, other parties could potentially infringe the patent. For example, someone could just create a program identical to an existing patent-encouraged program, and label it as a different invention. They could then use the documentation for their own purposes.

Patent Eastman document that outlines the importance of obtaining necessary patent documentation, found under the heading “Patent Application Documentation,” and explain how any misrepresentation could harm the patent holder’s patent.


2. What are the consequences of patent infringement?


If you’re selling a product that infringes on a patent, you’re at risk for legal action from the patent owner. If you’re found guilty of patent infringement, you may have to pay damages to the patent owner, and you may also have to pay your own legal fees if you’re sued. Patents are U.K. federal patent applications containing intellectual property.

1. Patents are awarded automatically at one time to the inventor of a patent when they are 19 years of age or older, get a degree, or are employed under contract with the federal government.

2. The U.K. government sells licenses for certain types of patents for a fixed fee. There are dozens of categories of patents applied for, ranging from small aircraft parts, to solar panels, to deodorants. There are also multiple class action lawsuits against companies for infringing on patents.

All patent litigation is handled by the U.S. district courts in Washington D.C. or in the respective state capitals.

3. U.K. Patents can also be owned by just one company, called the Patentee. As an infringer, the Patentee has the same rights as the victims in the case of a lawsuit. Murder, for example, is not a crime unless it is committed against a coprophiliac (someone who takes an oath of secrecy regarding sexual acts with a corpse). The person committing the killing has the right to silence, but the killer has no legal rights against the coprophiliac (the prostitute who supplied the body parts).

4. In a patent lawsuit, a plaintiff (patent owner) brings claims against another entity, referred to as the Respondent. When the plaintiff and the Respondent square off, the court will determine the outcome. For example, if the charge is infringement of a wireless communication technology, the court will determine how the infringing devices infringe. Once the court signs off, the patent is administered to the patentee who holds the rights to the idea.

5. Common types of patents include utility, design, and drugs and biological products.


3. How do you avoid infringing a patent?


To avoid infringing a patent, you need to make sure that you aren’t using a similar idea to the one in the patent. If you have any doubts, you should consult with an intellectual property lawyer or patent lawyer. They can advise you whether your idea infringes on the rights of others.

Patents only protect ideas covered by the laws of the United Kingdom. Thus, while it’s important to keep a company’s IP rights, you don’t need to retrieve them from a foreign country in order to stop a competitor from profiting off your idea.

Patents protect new ideas. If you borrow an idea from someone, you can sue them for infringement, but you should make sure that your idea is original.

In order to protect your patented idea, you need to “drive the point home”. Make sure that the “object” of your invention is “new” before you go after the person who infringed on it.

For example, if you decide to make a waterproof device because your uncle has a waterproof one, you don’t get to keep your uncle’s idea because it’s already been commercialized. You need to be the first to market, or you need to use new vocabulary.

So if you’re not an engineer, it’s probably best not to use your uncle’s waterproof device because you could get sued for violating his copyright. But if you only need to make a waterproof sleeve for a laptop, you don’t need to scramble around for someone to write a patent. You just need to use the word “waterproof” in a descriptive way so that potential customers know to buy your product.

Similarly, if you have an idea for a product for pet owners that you think is novel, protected by your first amendment, then you don’t have to worry about someone using your idea to market a dog collar. (Hmm, this reminds me of a gun I saw on the news program....) If you do need to use the word “collar,” do so in a way that shows off your innovative value.


4. What happens if you infringe on a patent?


If you’re accused of infringing on a patent, you’ll have to prove that your product or service doesn’t infringe on the patent. You can do this by showing the differences between the two products in the patent and your product. But you’ll need evidence that the patent is technically accurate, since the judge in your patent case is well aware that any product could be improved upon.

2. Patents can cover inventions that are new in nature, and they can be either industrial patents, which are designed to protect inventions in the physical world, or software patents, which protect the “operation” or combination of two or more software activities.

Industrial patents cover inventions in the physical world that are not effectively within the control of your competitors, while software patents cover a new invention that would be very difficult to build without infringing on another company’s patent.

3. Patents can be subdivided according to the duration of their validity. If a patent is filed with a time limit of one year, it won’t expire until the time that has passed. A two-year patent will last two years, and a five-year patent a five-year period. The US grants the most patents, and it fills only about 15% of them.

4. Patents can be filed anonymously. Anybody can file a patent. The US maintains a list of pending and granted patents, which lists the names and addresses of those who have filed more than 500 patents. This makes it easier to protect one’s innovations.

5. Patents have very strict requirements on how they can be obtained. For each patent you file, you must provide the US government with information about your proposed invention, a description of your invention, diagrams of how you want to use it, names and addresses of other parties involved in the project, and other mandatory information. You must give a reasonable date(s) when you expect to have a patent.


Conclusion: If you're trying to start your own business, you need to be aware of how patents work and how they affect your business. They're not all bad, but it's important to understand them so that you can avoid infringing on someone else's idea or accidentally ending up in court over something that could have been avoided.

Patents are important because they protect your business and allow you to make money from your idea. It's important to understand what patents are and how they work. If you're trying to start your own business, it's essential that you understand how patents work. Patents are created and given legally for a specific purpose. When you receive a patent, it's important to understand exactly how it was obtained, why it was necessary, and who filed the application. Even if you don't plan on using the patented technologies, being familiar with how patents are granted will let you keep your cool and move forward in your company’s development. For example, you will know not to get too aggressive with your patents.

It is important to know that just because you can obtain a patent for your idea, doesn't mean that you should. There are definitely situations where it doesn't make sense to get a patent: patents for computations, methods, and systems for search engine optimization, for example. These pursuits are already well defined by engineers; you don't need to be the expert in these fields. Instead, you should define your area of focus and then hire an expert to take care of it. Think about it this way: Do you really have to understand one hundred ways that one can search the web to optimize your site?




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