According to the most recent data published by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), there are more than 600,000 patent applications filed every year.
For many businesses in Florida, patents are a key part of their overall assets.
When patent rights are infringed upon, it can cause tremendous financial damage to the business — companies need to be ready to take immediate action to protect their interests.
This raises an important question: What constitutes patent infringement? It is not an easy question to answer.
Indeed, many complex disputes arise of what is and what is not patent infringement. We want to make sure that you have the tools and information that you need to protect your rights. Here, Orlando, FL intellectual property attorneys provide an overview of the standard for proving patent infringement.
Patent Infringement: Understanding the Basics
A patent is a type of intellectual property that grants the owner (the patent holder) the legal authority to exclude other parties from making, using, or selling an invention for a predetermined number of years.
In exchange, the patent holder will publicly disclose some information regarding the invention. Specifically, this will include the information contained within the patent. Under United States law, individuals and companies can obtain a patent for a wide range of different inventions — from physical objects and industrial machines to software code and business processes.
Patent infringement occurs when the exclusive rights granted by an approved patent are violated by an unauthorized party. Patent infringement comes in many different forms, including:
- Direct infringement;
- Indirect infringement;
- Contributory infringement; and
- Induced infringement.
If you believe that another party has infringed upon your protected patent, you must take swift action. With patent infringement claims, a company’s failure to take action to protect its rights can make it more difficult to get the other party to stop from using the patent and it can make it more difficult to recover financial damages.
How to Prove Patent Infringement
In order to enforce a patent against a competitor, you must present a well-documented and compelling claim that proves that your patent rights have been violated. More specifically, plaintiffs in a patent infringement claim are required to prove the following three things:
- Ownership of a Valid Patent: As a starting point, a plaintiff in a patent infringement claim must be able to prove that they actually have a valid patent. Of course, this is not necessarily a difficult step. In many cases, ownership of a patent can easily be shown through a written assignment. That being said, there are some circumstances in which disputes arise over the validity of patent ownership.
- An Act of Infringement Occurred: The next step is to prove that the defendant engaged in an act of infringement. One of the keys to stopping patent infringement is to identify the defendant that infringed upon the patent. This can be more challenging than it might initially seem. When multiple entities collaborate to make a good or service, there may be some confusion over which specific firm was responsible for the infringement.
- Incorporation of All Distinguishing Features: Finally, plaintiffs should know that it is not sufficient to broadly claim that patent infringement has occurred. Quite the contrary, plaintiffs in patent infringement claims must be able to present a detailed and comprehensive analysis that clearly explains precisely why the defendant’s product or service violates the patent. All of the distinguishing features that are listed in the patent registration should be addressed.
Proving patent infringement can be a complicated and highly technical process. If you have any questions or concerns about patent infringement — whether your company is considering filing a patent infringement lawsuit or your firm is preparing to defend an infringement action — it is imperative that you contact an experienced Orlando intellectual property lawyer. An attorney will be able to review your case and take action to protect your rights and interests.
Discuss Your Case to Our Orlando, FL Patent Infringement Lawyers Today
At BrewerLong, our Florida intellectual property attorneys have the skills and experience needed to handle the full range of patent infringement claims. If you are considering filing a patent infringement claim or if you are facing litigation over alleged patent infringement, we are here to help.
To set up a free, strictly confidential introductory phone call with our IP lawyers, please do not hesitate to contact us right away. From our law office in Maitland, we handle patent infringement claims throughout Orange County, including in Orlando, Ocoee, Apopka, Bay Lake, Belle Isle, and Edgewood.