- Themanufacture and/or use of an invention or improvement for which someone else owns a patent issued by thegovernment, without obtaining permission of the owner of the patent by contract, license or The infringing party willbe liable to the owner of the patent for all profits made from the use of the invention, as well as any harm which can beshown by the inventor, whether the infringement was intentional or not.
- Patent infringement occurs when another party makes, uses, or sells a patented item without the permission of thepatent holder. The patent holder may choose to sue the infringing party to stop his or her activities, as well as to receive compensation for the unauthorized use. Since intellectual property is governed by federal law, the patent holder must sue the unauthorized party in federal district court.
- Patent holders must bring infringement actionswithin six years from the date of infringement; if the suit is not brought in this time limit, it is time-barred, ratifying the infringement. While patent litigation precedes much like any other federal case, the complicated legal issues surrounding patent validity and infringement are reserved for the court’s determination, although some patent litigation cases use juries for other aspects of the overall case.
Different Types of Patent Infringement
There are different ways another party may infringe on your patent, including:
- Direct Infringement:
This occurs when a product covered by a patent is manufactured without permission.
- Indirect Infringement:
An indirect infringer may induce infringement by encouraging or aiding another in infringing a patent.
- Contributory Infringement:
This occurs when a party supplies a direct infringer with a part that has no substantial non-infringing use.
- Literal Infringement:
This exists if there is a direct correspondence between the words in the patent claims and the infringing device.
Patent Infringement: Penalties
- When a court finds infringement, the infringer usually must pay damagesto the patent holder, either in the form of actual damages or a reasonable royalty for the unauthorized use. Actual damages include lost profits the patent holder would have realized but for the infringement, while a reasonable royalty depends on the type of product, other royalty arrangements, time remaining on the patent, and other issues. In addition to damages, the prevailing party is also entitled to costs. Costs include court filing fees and related litigation expenses.
- In addition to infringement damages, a patent owner may stop the infringer from continuing to produce infringing products. The court typically, as a matter of course, issues a permanent injunctionafter the infringer is held liable for violating the patent.
- In some instances, the patent holder will seek a preliminary injunctionat the outset of the lawsuit where he or she can show no detriment to the public interest if the injunction is granted, a substantial likelihood of success on the merits of the case, and more compelling hardship for the patent holder if the infringer continues his or her activities while the case proceeds. The patent holder will find it difficult to get a preliminary injunction unless a prior adjudication proved the validity of the patent.