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General Information About Patents

Oct 10, 2007
Patent infringement is a serious offense in the United States. It can lead to serious damage awards if the case goes to trial. Often in cases of it, research by the offending company was previously performed to avoid it. However, often patent infringement happens when a company believes they are not directly violating certain laws.

For the purpose of clarity, we will discuss it as it pertains to a fictitious weight loss candy. Weight loss candy that has been marketed as candy that encourages weight loss and has been patented now holds the market on the ingredients and the concept, as well as the brand name and labeling.

The most obvious form of it is a company who creates the same product as a previously patented product and markets it as their own. Laws can get confusing when you consider that the development of products turns into development of more products. Obviously someone developed fabric softener.

Obviously, there have been many fabric softener developments along the way considering the ample fabric softener choices there are in the store today. Patents on the initial product only last for a certain amount of time, however patent infringement can happen even after it is acceptable to reproduce varying brands of the patented product. The new product can not have the same exact ingredients as the original product and it can not be marketed as the exact same product.

It can occur in several ways. Another company introduces a candy that does not necessarily encourage weight loss, but the packaging of the candy induces the consumer to believe the product is the same or similar to the initial weight loss candy. This is known as induced patent infringement.

Induced patent infringement relies on the principle that the company does not need to actually create a product that infringes on the patent rights, it only has to be presented to the consumer as a patent infringement. The candy, which may or may not encourage weight loss, is packaged in a manner that allows the consumer to believe the candy will encourage weight loss.

Induced patent infringement relies on the company's ability to hide behind the fact that the product is not the same as the patented product. Packaging is usually carefully worded to argue that the intent of the packaging is left up to the consumer, however, this tactic usually doesn't work. Induced patent infringement is usually obvious despite efforts that may be taken to avoid being suspected of it.

It can happen when someone redevelops a product already in circulation in another country, or if there is a patent pending on a product. Patent infringement on a patent pending product is really a matter of legal hair splitting. If a patent is pending, it does fall under protection. Patent infringement on a patent pending item can happen accidentally, however, most products that are marketed under a pending patent are marked with a patent pending obvious wording.

This can happen either accidentally or with deceitful intent. Intentional patent infringement, also known as willful patent infringement, can carry very high damages awards. Willful patent infringement is often committed with full knowledge and an intentionally deceitful marketing plan. This can include intentionally misrepresenting the product through packaging, advertisement, or even ingredient labeling. Willful can end up closing down major corporations.

These cases are definitely on the rise. This is in part due to the increase in marketing and research capabilities provided by the internet. Patent infringement awards tend to be some of the highest awards, if it was willful and the companies involved are both able and willing to take the case to court.

Patent infringement happens with large companies, small companies, and companies that are barely even on the radar screen. Unfortunately it is becoming more popular and more harmful. Patent infringement cases are becoming much more prevalent in the court room.

However it is important that those who have been victims of it, either via willful or induced, stand up and reclaim what is rightfully theirs. Patent infringement laws do help to better our society by providing financial motivation for the especially creative individuals to create products that make the world a better, safer place. Thus it is worth valuable time, money, and energy to seek out those who violate laws and hold them accountable for their actions.
About the Author
Nick Johnson, lead counsel and founding partner of Johnson Law Group, represents individuals or companies with cases involving patent infringement. Find more information at: http://www.toppatentinfringementlawyers.com or call 1-888-311-5522
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