Arizona entrepreneurs are ecstatic when they receive long-awaited patents for their inventions. However, the hard part may not be over yet. There are many scammers out there looking to rip off the intellectual property of others and market it as their own. This creates unfair competition and can be frustrating to businesses as they often suffer from declining sales as a result. Is there anything that can be done?
When a company or individual sells an already-patented invention as its own, this is called patent infringement. If you are a patent owner and you come across someone marketing identical products as their own, you may have a legal claim. You can file a claim in federal court and attempt to prove that your patent is being infringed upon and that you are suffering harm as a result.
If you can successfully prove that the other party has stolen your idea, the court may order that the party stop marketing and selling the product. You may also be able to receive monetary damages, particularly if you can prove that your sales have suffered as a result of the infringement.
Nonetheless, in some cases, the court may decide that your claim is invalid. This may occur if it is proven that the patent was previously published and available for the public to view in some capacity. Also, if the patent does not meet all the requirements and is missing important information — such as drawings or descriptions — then the court could deem the patent invalid.
Patent infringement is taken seriously. When a company decides to create a new product, it is important to perform extensive research to ensure that the idea is truly original.
Source: USPTO.gov, “About Patent Infringement” accessed on Dec. 12, 2014
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