Who will be there when things go wrong?
Due to the trouble, expense and the risks involved with gaining a patent, you might be lulled into thinking that the government will be there to lend you a helping hand when it comes time to enforce the rights your patented invention.
Sorry, but this is not how it works in the real world.
In reality, once a patent is issued, the inventor or patent owner (i.e. you!) must enforce the patent without the aid of the USPTO. So, if your patent is infringed upon, it is going to be up to you to finance any lawsuits that may arise.
Unfortunately, no one will be there to police other companies from making or selling your invention. You will have to keep a sharp eye out on your own. Luckily, the U.S. legal system is set-up so that you may retroactively sue for damages. That means if you don’t catch these thieves in the act, you can still initiate a lawsuit against any them and have them tried in a court of law.
As you are probably aware, infringement cases are common. In fact, so common you can hardly turn on the news these days without hearing of a legal battle between big corporations. Some of the biggest involve biotechnology-related patents. These cases can be wild since it’s tough to determine where the line of infringement ends and begins. Biotechnology patents only became prevalent in the last couple of decades.
The Patent Office hasn’t quite got them sorted out (and it’s possible they never will).
Copyright © 2005 Lisa Parmley – Registered Patent Agent
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