Sample Checklist for Handling Patent Infringement Situations
written by: Rose Smith•edited by: Wendy Finn•updated: 3/22/2011
When you invest in a U.S. patent for your invention, it legally protects any process, machine, composition of matter, article of manufacturer or any improvements to one of these categories, according to San Francisco patent attorneys at Owens Tarabichi law firm.
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Free Patent Infringement Checklist
The best way to proceed in light of a patent violation, is to first take steps to avoid legal action. If legal action becomes necessary, the documentation provided about discussions with the company infringing on your patent can assist your legal team.
We'll now address the issues you should consider when using this checklist for patent infringement.
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Fully Protect Your Patent
When a company or individual infringes upon a patent, there are US Patent Laws in place, that mean legal action can be taken to protect the inventor. One of the most important considerations is assuring the patent is properly obtained. The application process, also referred to as patent prosecution is complicated.
If you are an inventor seeking to patent your invention and its process, you must file not only in the US, but also in each country you want to provide you with legal patent protection. Since the process is complicated, and all areas of protection may not be considered by the inventor, it pays to hire a patent attorney specializing in acquiring patents or a patent agent.
Both the patent attorney and agent are qualified to guide you through the process, however, a patent lawyer can also help with patent infringement. Both keep current with patent laws in different countries. Whether you hire an agent or attorney, your representative needs to be able to understand fully how your invention works and how to appeal a rejected application.
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Cost of Patent
The cost of obtaining a patent varies depending on what type of patent you are applying for and how many countries you need to file your patent in. According to Washingtonpatents.com, as of 2010, a Utility Patent Filing Fee runs about $330 while a Design Patent Filing Fee costs $220. The lawyer fees are in addition to any filing fees.
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Before Pursuing Legal Action
Once you determine someone is violating your patent, it pays to invest in a lawyer well-versed in patent infringement laws. Even if you think you can't afford or don't need a lawyer to file legally for patent violation, consider seeking legal advice from a patent attorney before deciding how to proceed. Your attorney may advise you to resolve the infringement by discussing the situation with the company in violation, averting expensive legal action.
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After Failed Discussions
Once you discuss your violation concerns with the other party and give that company time to stop abusing your patent, ask your lawyer to send a Cease & Desist Letter. If the infringement of the patent continues, you can look into pursuing legal action. According to Owens Tarabichi, patent infringement litigation is complex because it involves technology that may be difficult to understand, and because esoteric patent claims must be interpreted to determine the scope of protection provided by the patent at issue.
Since this type of litigation is highly specialized, it is costly. Your patent attorney should be able to work with you to determine what outcome you want out of the legal process, and what type of financial constraints you may have.
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Washingtonpatents, The Cost of Getting a Patent, http://washingtonpatents.com/how-to-get-a-patent/the-cost-of-getting-a-patent/