Marking your products to highlight any relevant patent rights is an important but often overlooked aspect of IP management.
There are many advantages to letting everyone know you have secured, or are seeking, patent rights to your products. It can boost the reputation of your company as an innovative business, it can act as a visual deterrent and it can also have a dissuasive effect on anyone looking to copy your products. It could also prevent accidental infringement, or make it harder for anyone to try and claim accidental infringement during any future litigation.
Make sure to get it right!
If you have pending or granted patent rights, its important to get your marking right; it’s a criminal offence to mark a product or claim you have patent protection when this is not the case! You should also bear in mind that seeking protection by filing a patent application doesn’t mean that you are guaranteed to obtain a granted patent.
What terms should you use when marking your products?
“Patent pending” can be used to mark relevant products as soon as you have filed your patent application, right up until your patent is granted, finally refused or you decide to let it lapse.
“Patented” can only be used when the patent office formally grants your patent application.
When your patent application is pending, any product marking should include the application number and the country where you are seeking patent protection. Once you have achieved patent grant, you should replace the application number with the official patent number. Where possible, it is best to mark your patent rights on the product directly. Where this is impossible, for example because you have several patent rights or the product is very small, marking a link to a web address detailing your patent rights on the product is often acceptable. Alternatively, you can highlight all relevant patent rights in a product manual or on the product’s packaging, although this is less preferred.
For a more detailed explanation on how to explore the marking of products to highlight your IP rights, listen to our Innovation Talks podcast available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Spreaker, Deezer or Stitcher. Why not subscribe so you don’t miss our future episodes!
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