When owning and operating a business, there are many precautions to take into consideration. With regards to intellectual property, companies will take steps to help provide protection. A patent can offer protection; however, it is not a complete safeguard against infringement. Thus, when a patent holder believes that their patent is threatened, it is important to consider the steps available to them to address this issue or when there has been an actual infringement.
A patent infringement is when another party makes, uses or sells a patented item without the permission of the patent holder. When this occurs, the patent holder has the ability to sue this party to stop his or her activities. This is called an injunction. When this step is taken, it is also possible to seek compensation for the unauthorized use. However, because federal law governs intellectual property, this action must be filed in federal district court.
There are four common types of patent infringement. The first is direct infringement. This occurs when the patented product is manufactured without permission. The next type is indirect infringement, which is infringement that is induced by encouraging or aiding another with the infringement of a patent. The third type is contributory infringement. This occurs when a direct infringer is supplied with a part that has no substantial non-infringing use. The final type is literal infringement. This is when there is a direct correspondence between the patent claim and the infringing device.
Even if it is unclear if an infringement occurred, it is important to be safe than sorry. If you suspect that a patent infringement has occurred, it is vital to explore this situation further, understand your rights, mechanisms to stop such an occurrence and even recover compensation for losses and damages.