Patent infringement text through reading glasses

The Elements of a Patent Infringement Claim

Ream Law Firm, L.L.C. Sept. 27, 2023

Obtaining legal protections for your intellectual property, inventions, product designs, or technology is possibly the single most important step you can take to safeguard your interests and ensure you’re able to profit from your hard work. However, even when you do take the necessary steps to obtain a patent, you still must protect it from patent infringement. This can unfortunately take a lot of time and effort, which is why many people choose to work with a patent attorney if they feel their work is in danger. 

Those in Kansas City, Missouri, or the Kansas City metro area, including Johnson County, Kansas, and Jackson County, Missouri, can turn to Ream Law Firm, L.L.C. with over 25 years of patent law experience. Call today to set up a consultation.  

What Is Patent Infringement? 

When you’re awarded a patent from the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) you gain certain rights that help you protect your invention from others who may try to steal, copy, or use it for their own benefit. However, the USPTO does not directly help you defend against infringement. Protecting intellectual property is up to the patent holder.

Essentially, a patent infringement occurs any time another party tries to use, sell, import, or otherwise profit off your protected patent. There are two main ways infringement can happen: 

  • Direct: This is perhaps the easiest type of infringement to address and happens when another party openly uses your invention in a way that’s protected by your patent. For instance, if someone else makes an exact copy of a product you’ve designed and then tries to sell it. 

  • Indirect: This type of infringement happens when one party assists another in infringing on your patent, knowing that their actions will violate the patent. For example, they may give one element of your invention to another party knowing it will help them. 

Elements of a Patent Infringement Claim  

To proceed with a patent infringement claim, you must meet two basic criteria: 

  1. That you’re the valid owner of a patent, and 

  1. That the defender (the person or party you’re filing the claim against) has infringed on that patent.   

To satisfy the first requirement, you will typically need to show written documentation from the USPTO. You will then need to provide documentation that someone else (or a group of people) has infringed upon the patent, and this must be done by pointing to a specific act.

This is where the process can become complicated, and an experienced attorney can be an indispensable asset for you. For example, a direct infringement may be easier to support than an indirect infringement, and your lawyer will know what type of evidence the USPTO is looking for and help you gather and organize this.  

These cases are notorious for involving stacks of paperwork, detailed evidence, and countless hours of time and resources to construct a solid case. It’s almost always in your best interest to work with a lawyer to ensure your interests are protected. 

Possible Defenses to Patent Infringement 

When putting together a strong infringement claim, it’s equally as important to understand how the defendant will try to fight back against your lawsuit. They will typically try to do this in one of three ways:

  • Attempting to prove that your patent is not valid 

  • Showing they never actually infringed on your patent 

  • Demonstrating that although the patent may exist, it’s unenforceable 

It will be up to you and your legal team to ensure all of the potential defenses are addressed. 

Trustworthy Legal Assistance 

Whether you have a utility, design, or plant patent, Ream Law Firm, L.L.C. can help you safeguard it. If you’re in the Kansas City, Missouri, area and have questions or concerns about protecting your intellectual property, call Dale J. Ream today to learn more.