Patent Infringement

A patent granted for an invention affords the inventor the property right to the invention. Patents are issued by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and grant exclusivity rights to the inventor for 20 years. There are some exceptions and some patent terms that can be extended or adjusted, but usually the term is for 20 years from the earliest recorded date of patent application. U.S. patent grants are only effective in the United States and in U.S. territories.

A patent awards the inventor the right to exclude others from manufacturing, using, marketing, selling, or importing the patented invention. The right that is afforded to the patent holder is not the right to manufacture, use, market, sell or import the patented invention, but the right to exclude others from doing so. The office examines applications for a patent without making determinations on whether the invention in question infringes on other patents. An improvement on an existing invention may be patented, but if there is a prior patent that has not expired, the new patent might infringe on the previous patent. Once the USPTO issues a patent, the patentee must seek enforcement of patent rights or patent infringement in federal court.

Patent infringement occurs when someone who is unauthorized to manufacture, use, market, or sell a patented invention does so during the patent term without the permission of the patent holder. If patent infringement occurs, the patentee can bring a lawsuit against the patent violator in federal court. The patent holder can pursue an injunction in federal court to force the patent violator to stop the patent infringement immediately. The patentee can also seek damages caused by the patent infringement. If the patent infringement lawsuit brings the validity of the patent into question, the court will first have to decide on that matter before it continues with the patent infringement case.

The language of the claims of the patent can be determined if patent Infringement has occurred. If the supposed violator is manufacturing, using, marketing, or selling something that does not fall within the parameters of the language used in any of the claims of the patent in question, then no violation or patent infringement has occurred.

Lawsuits for patent infringement observe the set procedures for any hearing in federal court. A decision is rendered on the validity of the patent infringement case before the district court. If the outcome is not in accordance with one of the parties involved, they must pursue an appeal in the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals for that region. A patent infringement case may make it to the Supreme Court, if pursued strongly enough. If the U.S. Government commits the patent infringement, the patentee can claim damages in the United States Court of Federal Claims. The U.S. government can use any patented invention without the permission of the patentee, but the patentee is entitled to receive compensation for the use of his/her patented invention.