Infringement is central to most patent litigation cases. Especially if you've never dealt with the process before, you might not be sure what infringement means in a legal sense. If you want to have a more comprehensive discussion with a patent lawyer, you should understand the following aspects of infringement.
In a literal infringement case, the plaintiff accuses the alleged offending party of copying significant portions or all of the details listed in the patent. The most extreme cases of literal infringement involve offenders who've made one-for-one copies of existing products using molds, 3-D scans, or CAD files.
Notably, process patent cases can involve literal infringement, too. If a company patented a process for improving widget production efficiency, an offender can still literally infringe even though there isn't a tangible product. If the patent involves an ABC process for more efficiently making widgets, the offender merely has to do the same thing.
In patent litigation, there is also the doctrine of equivalents. Unsurprisingly, some folks try to skirt patent laws by making equivalent products or processes. Anyone who has ever seen a bad rip-off of a popular toy has some idea what an equivalent is. In these cases, the offending item isn't a one-for-one copy. However, it so closely replicates the function of the patented product or process that it operates as a direct and unlicensed competitor.
Not every offending party means to infringe, especially if they're acquiring components or materials from third parties. However, this is only a defense if the offending party ceases their actions upon notice. If they continue to operate without a license, you have the right to sue.
Some parties are simply daring you to sue them. A willfully infringing party knows there is a patent and makes zero effort to cease their offenses. When you sue, you may have the right to demand additional damages to make up for their deliberate misconduct.
Developing a Cause of Action
Someone wishing to pursue patent litigation should take some basic steps to develop a cause of action. They should have copies of the patent ready. Likewise, they should try to obtain versions of the offending items. Ideally, a potential plaintiff should review the items with the support of a patent lawyer. If they believe an actionable offense has occurred, the attorney can then send a cease-and-desist letter outlining their client's demands.
The offending party should respond within a few weeks. If not, you may want to begin the patent litigation process.
I am a real estate attorney, and I have been helping clients buy and sell property for many years. Some clients do not realize their legal obligations and options when it comes to purchasing or selling a house or land. I hope that this blog will be a way for people to get information about legal issues in real estate and what they need to know when doing business. Buying and selling property can be complicated, and all parties involved have legal obligations. Know what is expected of you, and you will be able to get the best out of your real estate transactions.