This article will help you understand:
- Your rights and the actions they enable you to exercise if you suspect another has infringed on your utility patent.
- How long your utility patent is valid for and the implications this has on your product.
- How a lawyer can help you with your utility patent law case and other things to avoid.
What Are The Most Common Types Of Utility Patent Infringement? What Can I Do If A Business Or Individual Has Infringed On My Utility Patent?
Utility patent infringement violation ranges from products to services, cars, machines, software, hardware – all kinds of things. For example, on simple coffee machines, there can be hundreds of patents, and on a computer or smartphone, there can be thousands of patents involved.
If you think you have infringed on a patent, you can let the owner of the patent know and try to negotiate a licensing fee. This will be for your own good because from the moment you are aware you are infringing a patent; you are guilty of what is called willful infringement. Willful infringement carries with it triple the normal amount of damages compared to unintentional infringement. Immediately reach out and do some licensing negotiations with the patent owner. You can look up who the patent owner is online or reach out to a lawyer.
There may be standard essential patents on things like smartphones and computers. So those are patents that are required in the widespread standard. These patents are required to have what is called a FRAND rate – Fair, Reasonable, And Non-Discriminatory Licensing Fee. With these, the other party cannot charge you outrageous fees to license their patent. Their licensing fee must be fair and reasonable.
How Long Does A Utility Patent Last?
U.S. utility patents last 20 years from the date of filing. Each utility patent application is different, but in general, it could take three to five years– potentially more – to get your patent issued. Only after it has been issued can you file a lawsuit based on it. You can pay for accelerated examination, which may expedite the patent application process to a year or two. This can be worth it if you think there are infringers taking advantage of you or in certain fields where changes occur very quickly, such as software.
Why Is It Critical To Hire A Patent Law Attorney? What Mistakes Do People Or Businesses Commonly Make When They Apply For Protection Without An Experienced Patent Attorney On Their Side?
Perhaps the biggest mistake people who do not partner with a patent attorney make is they fail to correctly navigate enablement requirements. For example, an inventor who tries to write their own application may not write it to the level needed to actually enable the invention. Also, they may fail to provide all the various versions needed.
Beyond this, the claims in the patent application are very complicated, with many rules about how to write them. The first reference to anything needs to be prefaced with “a” or “an” and “the” thereafter. Many fail to make this seemingly trivial requirement happen and pay the consequences for it. The patent application process can be tedious.
A lawyer will help develop a good amount of variety for your claims. You only have 20 claims at no additional costs, so you want to make them count by making them substantively different versions of the invention. This is something inventors do not typically do.
With the guidance of a skilled attorney in Utility Patent Law Cases, you can have the peace of mind that comes with knowing that we’ll make it look easy.