Patent infringement occurs when someone sells, imports, uses, or manufactures a product/invention that was invented by someone else without authorization. Patent infringement is simple to commit because mostly patent information is open to the public and available to everyone. Any person or entity wishing to commercialize or invent a product/ technology must first undertake a survey or screening process throughout the product development phase.
It is unlikely that all similar inventions will infringe on one another. When things appear to be the same, but the elements and functionality don’t match up. Just because someone creates a product that looks similar to someone else’s doesn’t guarantee they’re infringing.
It’s difficult to infringe on a patent. Your idea’s components would have to be compatible with a patented invention. However, it is possible to be blindly inspired by an existing idea and end up in serious difficulties. To avoid patent infringement, always do your analysis (hire an attorney to do it for you) and be willing to make enough basic changes to your innovation to assure that you’re not violating any patent laws.
- You should find out whether patents might cover your product as soon as possible – When you first have the idea and certainly before you decide to invest in developing it. Before you put time and money into a product, a qualified patent lawyer can check patents and applications in the United States and most international nations to see whether you have any potential patent difficulties.
- Using an FTO to Avoid Problematic Patents- Consider a Freedom-To-Operate (FTO) search to decrease uncertainty and assess the risk of patent infringement connected with a specific product. This search will look for live patents claiming features found in your product.
- Conduct your own prior art search– Prior art searches include strategy, persistence, and hard work. An effective prior art search can be performed only by expert. You just need to search on patent databases like Google Patents and Espacenet. Prior art searches of high quality should always have done by looking at all necessary aspects of invention.
- A Patent Attorney Helps Identify Similar Patents – Hire an expert patent attorney or consultant who can help in patent infringement.
- If it is impossible to avoid patent infringement, the next stage is to examine if the patent is valid – This stage includes a detailed review of the prior art. Prior art includes product sales, written descriptions of similar items, and public uses of similar products prior to the filing of the invention, preferably more than a year prior to the filing of the patent. A patent must be submitted more than a year before it is publicly disclosed, detailed in a printed publication, or offered for sale in the United States. The patent is invalid if there are public disclosures, printed descriptions, or offers for sale from more than a year before the patent was filed.
It is usually preferable to have a clear understanding of the potential risks before proceeding. The cost of fully understanding the potential for patent infringement and knowing what you’re up against is very low. Patent concerns are unavoidable, and it is always best to tackle them head on and at the appropriate moment. For entrepreneurs and small firms, patent infringement can be a worrying sign. However, with some guidance from your patent attorney and the methods outlined above, you should be able to considerably limit your chance of infringing on another company’s patent.