Your patent provides you with the exclusive right to your invention. Any person who exploits your invention without your permission will be guilty of patent infringement. Infringing acts are not limited to the manufacture of an invention. Any person will also infringe your patent if they sell, offer for sale, import, export or use any product or process that falls within the scope of your patent.
Before any action is taken against an infringer, it’s important to first assess the alleged infringement and determine whether it does indeed fall within the scope of the patent. Assuming that this is the case, there are several options available to you. The patent gives you the right to stop the infringing activity, and to be paid damages for any loss the infringement may have caused you, as well as any legal costs you may have incurred. Alternatively, you may decide that you’re happy for the other party to continue, providing they pay you a royalty for doing so. The infringement could also be used as a means to negotiate alternative commercial agreements.
The first step in any action is to write to the other side, setting out what you require from them. If they are cooperative, a settlement may be negotiated without the requirement for legal proceedings. If the other side refuses to agree to your terms, legal action may be started for patent infringement. It’s still possible to negotiate a settlement once proceedings have been issued, and very few cases go all the way to court.
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