Patent Litigation 101
When it comes to technology, nothing is simple. You may think that just because you hold a patent, your ideas are safe from being stolen. Unfortunately, the reality is that only aggressive legal action can protect your patents. Patent pirates know that many people are reluctant to pursue litigation. Taking a case to court is an uncertain and expensive process, but allowing pirates to steal from you will cost even more.
Whenever another party makes, uses, or sells your patented item or idea without license, you have the right to sue the infringing party. Litigation can stop their activities and you may be entitled to compensation. However, infringement is rarely easy to prove. If you are concerned about the safety of your patent, you should understand the different types of infringement and how a court defines them.
Direct and Indirect Infringement: If someone manufactures your product without permission, this is known as direct infringement. Indirect infringement, however, is much harder to prove but can be just as destructive. Indirect infringement occurs when someone encourages or aides another in infringement. If someone is attempting to pass off your patented idea as their own, they may be guilty of indirect infringement.
Contributory Infringement: Your patent may require specific parts or processes which are necessary for its creation. If someone supplies a patent pirate with a part for the purpose of infringing, they may also be guilty of contributory infringement.
Literal Infringement: If the infringing device directly copies words from the patent claim in their processes, this is a case of literal infringement. If this can be proven, your infringement case is very easy to bring to trial.
Willful Infringement: Even unintentional infringement is illegal. However, if the court finds that one party willfully stole a patented idea or product, the penalty will be much more severe. Proving willful infringement means getting the full amount of compensation you are entitled to.
As you can see, patent infringement comes in many different forms. If you suspect your patent has been infringed, you need an experienced patent attorney to litigate on your behalf and protect your rights. At Daniel Law Offices, P.A. we can keep your patents safe from piracy and infringement.