Can Your Business Avoid Patent Infringement?

Law Blog

Patent infringement could land your business in court. There are serious consequences associated with infringement, including the costs associated with defending your product or service. Avoiding infringement altogether is better for your business and your budget. To help you get started, here is what you need to know.  

What Types of Patents Exist? 

One of the most common reasons that businesses and inventors are hit with claims of infringement is that they do not understand the various types of patents that exist. If you are not aware of the various types, determining if there is an existing patent on a product will be challenging.  

Utility, design, and plant patents can be filed on a product. Each one covers a different aspect of a product. For instance, a plant patent is for vegetation that is considered to be new and distinctive. The plant itself may not be produced from seeds, but instead from various scientific processes.  

On the other hand, a utility patent is for products that are new and useful. The patent also covers products that are improvements on others. A design patent basically covers the configuration and appearance of a product.  

A product could be covered by more than one patent. For instance, an inventor or business could request a patent that covers the design and the structure of a product. Therefore, you have to be careful when requesting a new patent. Although you might be in the clear on one patent, there could be another that fits a certain aspect of your product.  

What Can You Do? 

An important step you can take towards protecting yourself from an infringement claim is to carefully search for any patents that you might be infringing on. There are several avenues available to you for searching. For instance, you can search the United States Patent Office online.  

In addition to this, you need to closely examine any products that are similar to yours. The patent number is likely stamped on the products. Check those numbers to determine if your product would infringe on their patents.  

If you do discover patents for some aspect of your product, check the expiration date of the patent. If the patent has expired, you can file yours. You also need to check if the maintenance fees for the patent have been paid. In the event that the patent holder failed to make payments, there is a possibility that the patent was invalidated.  

Consult with your patent attorney to learn more about avoiding patent infringement. 


13 June 2017

family law - impacting your life

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