A patent is a form of intellectual property that gives a patent holder the right to exclude others from making, using or importing a patented invention. Patents can be sought and obtained from the United States Patent and Trademark Office for any new and useful process, machine, manufacture, composition of matter or any new and useful improvement thereof. In some situations, a patent can even be obtained for the design of a product. A good patent lawyer can help.
Patent rights are granted by the federal government for a limited amount of time, usually for twenty years, during which no one else is allowed to use, make or import the patented invention without the patent holder’s permission. Permission can be obtained through a licensing agreement. Any unauthorized use or manufacture of a patented invention likely constitutes patent infringement, and patent owners can sue for damages. Once the patent expires, the invention enters the public domain, meaning that anyone is free to use the invention at that time and such use would not constitute patent infringement.
Obtaining and enforcing a patent can be complicated, but the intellectual property rights associated with patent protection can be a valuable business asset. The lawyers at Whitcomb Law, P.C. can help you seek and enforce patent rights, and can help you understand the benefits that patent protection can provide to your business.
Before getting started with the patent application process, sometimes a business wants to know what the chance of success will be before committing the time and the resources to pursuing patent protection. A patent attorney can conduct a patent search and provide a patentability opinion concerning the likelihood that a patent will be granted if patent protection is sought.
Similarly, prior to entering into a licensing agreement or getting involved in litigation for patent infringement, a business can obtain legal opinions concerning right-to-use an invention, infringement opinions and validity opinions. Having patent-related legal opinions can help protect your business from wasting resources in the long run.
Patents can be obtained in the United States and abroad. A patent obtained in the United States is only enforceable in the United States. Many other countries also have their own patenting systems, and there are some collaborations amongst many countries where patent protection can be sought in multiple countries with a single patent application. If your company is engaged in international business, it might be prudent intellectual property strategy to seek patent protection both domestically and abroad in the countries where you sell your products.
When someone tries to copy your product and then sell it, and you hold a patent on that product, there is a good chance that your patent rights are being infringed. You can sue for damages in a patent infringement lawsuit. If the infringer knowingly infringed your patent, you could be entitled to triple damages for willful infringement.
Patent lawyers can help protect your intellectual property rights, which can be your business’s most valuable asset. They can offer protection from competitors and serve as a deterrent against others making and selling a product similar to your patented product.