Understanding exclusive rights from patents

The federal government rewards exclusive rights to patent owners to stop their competitors from copying their patented inventions. Patent owners can stop their competitors use, sell, offer for sale, manufacture, or import their patented invention in the United States. This grant of exclusive rights provides patent owners with excellent competitive edge, as they can legally exclude competitors from competing with them for the same product. Thus, patent owners enjoy having the full market share for their patented product.

Besides being able to stop competitors from infringing their products, patent owners can obtain compensatory damages, treble damages, and attorney fees. Compensatory damages must be no less than the reasonably royalty rates for the use of the product. “Treble damages” means the value of compensatory damages multiplied by three. Treble damages are available if the infringement was committed willfully. Attorney fees may be obtained in exceptional cases. An example of an exceptional case is one where the infringement was committed willfully.

Patent remedies can be limited in certain circumstances. For instance, one can generally collect only for infringement damages incurred within 6 years. Another situation that can limit damages is if the infringer lacked notice of the patented status of the product. Thus, patent owners should mark their products with either the word “patented” or with the US patent number. Patent owners should not, however, falsely label their products as being patented if they are not so. Falsely labeling a product as patented is subject to a $500 fine per product as you can read on this article on https://www.jpost.com/Special-Content/Harness-Your-Creativity-and-Become-an-Inventor-with-InventHelp-574856.

What if the accused device is a typical ballpoint pen? A typical ballpoint pen has an elongated body. However, it does not have a lead. Instead, it has a plastic tube that contains ink. The claim of the pencil patent therefore does not read on the ballpoint pen. Therefore, the ballpoint pen does not infringe. Note that for the accused product not to infringe, there only needs to be one element or one limitation of the claim that has to differ from the accused product.

In determining patent infringement, all the parts of the patent must be studied. Words in a claim are given their ordinary and accustomed meaning, unless it appears that the inventor used them differently in the specification. The specification is the portion of the patent that describes in detail the various aspects of the invention. Thus, claims are construed in light of the specification.

In determining patent infringement, all the relevant patent documents, especially the patent file history must also be studied. A patent file history contains the originally submitted application and the correspondences between the US Patent and Trademark Examiner and the applicant. The patent file history is important because it contains all the arguments the applicant used to persuade the USPTO examiner that the applicant’s invention is patentable. The patent file history is also important in that it contains all the prior patents or publications the USPTO regarded as relevant to the patentability of the applicant’s invention. It is all explained in details on https://www2.palomar.edu/telescope/2018/12/12/student-creators-can-benefit-from-seeking-the-services-of-inventhelp/.