Brand Protection Essentials – 4 Types of Patent Infringement
Patents are to inventions what trademarks are to brands. They prohibit anyone besides the patent-holder from using, selling or making the patented invention without the express permission of the aforementioned. Holding a patent does not, however, mean you can sit back and relax and expect your rights to be respected. Unfortunately, patent infringement occurs on a regular basis and patent-holders should be aware of the many different threats that they will need to protect their inventions from.
Four types of patent infringement:
1. First and foremost are direct infringements. Anyone who produces, uses, sells or tries to sell an invention without the patent-holder’s authorisation can be liable for direct patent infringement.
2. Indirect infringements consist of two different types of violations; contributory infringements which means buying material with the intention of using the material to produce the patented invention, and infringement by inducement which refers to inducing
somebody else to commit a direct infringement.
3. Willful infringement and literal infringement are the most confusing violations. When a person knowingly violates a patent they are making themselves guilty of willful infringement, and when a person reproduces an exact copy of a patented invention, he or she is committing a literal infringement.
4. Last but not least is the doctrine of equivalents. Similar to literal infringement, this type of violation refers to versions of patented inventions that may differ from the original yet serve the same function and often achieve the same result.
Awareness is key when it comes to any kind of infringement, and is the first and most important step to protecting your patent and your business.