What Are the Consequences of Patent Infringement?

Being charged with patent infringement can be serious and have serious consequences. You could be responsible for damages, including the loss of reasonable benefits or royalties, perhaps even attorneys' fees or triple the damages. You could even be subject to a court order. However, there are a number of defenses to such an accusation.Violation of the rights of the owner of a patent with respect to any invention is prohibited unless the patent owner allows it.

A patent infringement is committed by manufacturing, using, offering, or selling something that contains all the elements of a patent application or its equivalent while the patent is in force. For a violation to occur, the prohibited act must be performed in the United States, or the offending product must be imported into the United States after it has been created abroad. The legal rule that holds up in a patent infringement case is that it must be proven by the preponderance of evidence.The combination of the jurisdiction of federal courts, the complexity of the issues and the technical foundations of patent law means that patent holders and accused infringers must seek highly qualified legal help. Another common defense of patent infringement is the argument that the alleged infringement is not covered by the original patent applications.

In the event that the patent owner decides to file a lawsuit, the court usually intervenes and prevents the illegal activity from continuing and sometimes punishes the offender with sanctions, such as monetary awards for the patent owner. Actual damages include the loss of profits that the patent owner would have earned if it weren't for the infringement, while a reasonable royalty depends on the type of product, other royalty agreements, the remaining validity time of the patent, and other issues.For a case of patent infringement to be heard, the patent owner must file the application within the statute of limitations, which is six years from the date the infringement occurred. Usually, the court issues a permanent court order after the infringer is held responsible for the patent violation. If you have doubts about a particular patent, don't put it in writing, as it could later be used as proof that you knew you were infringing a patent.

Patent and Trademark Office application; if the patent was the result of anti-competitive business activities; or if the alleged infringer can demonstrate that the patent did not meet the novelty and non-obvious requirements required for patent protection.Generally, when someone infringes on your patent rights, your first step should be to send them a “cease and desist” letter. Keep in mind that while sending a cease and desist letter is usually an effective first response to intellectual property infringement, it may not be recommended in all cases. To ensure that your invention does not constitute patent infringement, you must first locate and analyze any similar patents. The alleged infringer often refutes the patent owner's claim by alleging that their own invention does not meet all of its requirements.Willful infringement involves intentional disregard of another person's patent rights.

This includes both direct and intentional copying and continued infringement after notification. If you can't stop someone from infringing your work through a cease and desist letter, a DMCA withdrawal notice, or other similar means, you may be forced to go to court to protect your intellectual property. If found guilty of willful infringement, an offender faces significant financial penalties; they may end up paying triple actual damages suffered by the patent owner as well as plaintiff's attorneys' fees.

Mitchell Michniak
Mitchell Michniak

Hipster-friendly coffeeaholic. Total coffee junkie. Subtly charming pop culture specialist. Internet scholar. Certified tv aficionado.

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