After a patent is issued, the patent holder will be entitled to all the legal protections related to owning the patent. No other company, organization or person will have the right to utilize or benefit from the product or invention. A patent holder is entitled to exclude others from making, using, selling, offering for sale, or importing into the U.S. a patented device. As a remedy to infringement, a patent holder can seek damages and injunctive relief.
Dedicated Experience in Patent Litigation
Michael M. Ahmadshahi, is a patent lawyer serving Palo Alto, San Jose and the surrounding area handling patent applications, infringement and litigation matters in federal courts. The firm also assists with patent procurement. If your patent rights have been infringed upon, obtain the support of an experienced law firm. Consider scheduling a no-obligation consultation with Michael M. Ahmadshahi, PhD, Law Offices at your earliest convenience.
What Constitutes Patent Infringement?
A patent can be infringed when a third party makes, uses, sells, offers to sell, or imports a component or product that uses one or more claims of the patent. After discovering that your patent rights have been infringed, a lawsuit can be filed against the infringer for damages . The lawsuit will need to be filed in a federal court where it will be also possible to seek an injunction to stop the infringement from continuing.
A successful claim against an infringer will define your legal rights as the patent owner. A thorough examination of the infringement will be required, and you will need to establish whether the offender’s product meets the elements of at least one patent claim. If all elements are present, the party’s actions will constitute an infringement on the patent. Although the accused device has been made slightly different or an obvious improved version of the patented device, it can still be found as an infringement under what is known as the “Doctrine of Equivalents”.
Patent Infringement & the Doctrine of Equivalents
According to the Doctrine of Equivalents, a patent violation does not have to be an exact or literal copy to infringe on someone’s patent rights. When an invention performs the exact same way or through a similar process, and it ultimately achieves the results the patented technology produces, a federal judge will likely consider this to be a patent infringement. The Doctrine of Equivalents essentially provides patent holders supplemental protection and it also makes it challenging for would be offenders to make a profit from an existing invention.
Suppose that a person has invented a piece of technology that provided a solution for a widespread problem that had no prior known solution. Once the technology has been made public, other companies can rush to develop the invention using only minor or slightly different alterations. They would attempt to develop and manufacture their own technology that functions in a similar manner, achieving the same results as the original technology. The Doctrine of Equivalents attempts to put a stop to this.
Under Graver Tank & Manufacturing v. Linde Air Products Co. 339 U.S. 605 (1950), the United States Supreme Court has established a “triple identity” assessment that asks the following:
1. Are the functions of the two products considered the same?
2. Are the functions of the two inventions considerably performed in the same form?
3. Can the results be considered the same?
When a product has enough similarities with a patented invention to meet the aforementioned requirements, it is very likely that an infringement on the patent has occurred.
Defending Your Patent Rights
It is recommended that you continuously monitor your patent for infringement. Although it may seem difficult to police possible infringements, there are key methods to do so, including:
- Monitoring Your Competitors – Competitors may directly or indirectly be tempted to use inventions they have not produced before.
- Make Note of Any Emerging Trends – If an infringement on your invention occurs, there is a high possibility it will occur within your industry. Being knowledgeable of news and trends in your industry can help you identify any potential violations.
Stay on Top of Your Industry – Technological trends quickly change when a new concept arises. These new and emerging trends could pose a risk to your patent and may lead to an intentional or accidental infringement.
Taking Action Against an Infringement
The damage caused by an infringement can increase over a period of time. Additionally, over time, it may become increasingly more complicated to stop an infringement. When you suspect that your invention has been infringed upon, it is important to have an experienced patent lawyer serving San Jose & Palo Alto on your side to take immediate action. Our attorney can draft a cease and desist letter to notify the third party about the infringement on the patent rights and order an immediate stop to the activity.
The patent litigation law firm Michael Ahmadshahi, PhD, Law Offices concentrates its practice on trademarks, patents, copyrights, trade secrets and other intellectual property law. If your patent has been infringed upon, the firm is prepared to aggressively defend your rights. Consider contacting Michael Ahmadshahi, PhD, Law Offices today.