Many Arizona entrepreneurs have patents on their inventions. A patent helps prevent others from stealing an entrepreneur’s idea and profiting off of it. Once a patent is approved, all rights remain the ownership of the inventor for 20 years.
Nobody else can claim they invented the product first. However, many people try to rip off extremely popular ideas and commit patent infringement. Learning more about patent infringement and the steps that should be taken to protect one’s rights can be important.
One element of infringement is the action of taking all of the patent’s parts and adding additional ones to make it different. This is not allowed. But, if a person borrows some – but not all – elements of a patent, then it is not considered infringement. However, if the final product performs the same function in the same way, then the person can be accused of patent infringement.
If an inventor claims a patent was infringed upon, that person can file a claim against the accused infringer. There are several defenses the accused infringer can use. Most likely, the defendant will argue that the patent is invalid. The defendant will attack each of the five elements of a patent: ability to be patented, novelty, utility, prior disclosure and non-obviousness. If the defendant can prove the case, then the patent holder loses all rights to the invention – a devastating outcome.
Patent lawsuits are complicated. They combine both law and science, making them fairly unique in the practice of law. The right approach to an intellectual property issue will likely incorporate the appropriate research to help entrepreneurs protect their legal rights and keep infringers at bay.
Source: FindLaw, “Patent Enforcement FAQ” accessed April 18, 2015
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