Carmel Patent Infringement Lawyer Representing Your Rights in Litigation
The human brain is capable of incredible things, and inventions, devices, and processes are just some of the fruit that can come from imagination and creativity. If you want to protect your intellectual property, a patent can help. However, it’s equally important to understand what rights a patent gives you and what your options are if someone infringes on those rights.
If someone is using your patented invention or idea without your permission, you have legal options. At Katie Charleston Law P.C., we know how upsetting it can be when someone takes and uses your ideas — especially if they are doing so for profit. But taking action quickly is key. Call our office to schedule a consultation to discuss your case and find out how our firm can help.
What Qualifies as Patent Infringement?
Patent infringement is when any person or entity violates the patentee’s (the person who owns the patent) rights afforded them by the patent. 35 U.S. Code § 271 defines a patent infringer as someone who “makes, uses, offers to sell, or sells any patented invention, within the United States or imports into the United States any patented invention during the term of the patent” without permission from the patentee.
The four main types of patent infringement include the following.
- Literal infringement: When the product in question has a direct correspondence to the product covered by the patent
- Contributory infringement: Providing the direct infringing party with materials that have no purpose other than to produce the device
- Direct infringement: Directly building, using, and profiting off of a patented device
- Indirect infringement: Helping someone infringe on a patent
When you speak with an attorney, they will help you identify which type of patent infringement you’re dealing with and how that may change the approach to the case.
Can Someone Infringe on a Patent Unintentionally?
In many areas of the law, intent is a key component of arguing and winning your case. If you are filing a claim based on inducement of infringement, you must show that the defendant was aware that the patent existed and that the actions would infringe on the patent. However, in traditional direct infringement cases, intent doesn’t play a large role. The burden is on the defendant to have done their due diligence to ensure that an idea or invention wasn’t already patented before using it for commercial gain. So, even if the defendant claims they weren’t aware that the invention was already patented, it doesn’t protect them from legal action.
What Is the Doctrine of Equivalents?
When you think of patent infringement, you may think that only cases where someone steals the exact invention or idea qualify for legal action. However, there is something called the doctrine of equivalents, which is widely applied to patent infringement cases. The doctrine of equivalents means that you can still bring a patent infringement suit against someone if they copy your invention or design with equivalents. A very simple example of this could be that you patented an invention that uses metal components and the other party used that same design but with plastic components. If the components function and interact in the same way to produce the same result, it could qualify as patent infringement under the doctrine of equivalents.
What Are the Consequences for Patent Infringement?
The main purpose of bringing a patent infringement lawsuit against another party is to stop them from continuing to use and profit off of your invention. However, you may also have incurred damages, such as from lost profits, because of the other party’s actions, and it’s possible to be awarded compensation as part of your case. How much you may be able to get depends on many factors, including:
- Estimated lost profits
- Unpaid royalties
- How much time was left on the patent
- Whether court costs and attorney fees are included
Your attorney can talk with you about whether you can add monetary damages to your claim.
Who Has the Burden of Proof in a Patent Infringement Case?
The burden of proof is an important aspect of any legal case because it specifies who is responsible for proving the case and to what degree. In civil cases, the burden of proof generally lies with the plaintiff. This means that the party who filed the lawsuit must provide evidence of their claim and prove their case for a satisfactory result. However, there are some rare situations in patent law where the burden of proof may lie with the defendant.
Civil cases also require that the plaintiff prove the case with a preponderance of the evidence. In patent infringement cases, this means that the patentee must prove that it is more likely than not that the defendant infringed on the patent.
What Can I Do If Someone Stole My Idea?
If you believe that another party stole your idea or manufactured your invention without permission, the first thing to do is speak with an attorney. The sooner you take action, the better you can mitigate any potential losses, and there may be cases where a cease and desist notice or a temporary injunction pending a hearing can immediately stop someone from using your device. It’s also important to gather as much documentation and evidence as possible so that your attorney has all of the details to start working on your case.
If someone has infringed on your patent, it’s normal to be upset and not sure about what you can do. At Katie Charleston Law P.C., we work with clients just like you to help them understand their options and take action — and get compensation — from those who violate patent law. Call 463-229-6788 to speak with a Carmel patent infringement lawyer today!