How a patent infringement can occur

Glenn W. Peterson

Inventions happen all the time, opening new paths for businesses in Sacramento to achieve their goals, streamline their processes and improve their own goods or services. However, using technology or items that belong to another company or person could expose businesses to litigation involving patent infringement.

According to the United States Patent and Trademark Office, a business may receive a demand letter from the owner of a patented product, claiming that the business is committing patent infringement due to the use of the product. If a product is patented, and a business is planning to use it, it is important for the business to obtain permission from the holder of that patent beforehand.

If a business is purchasing a patented product from another business such as an equipment supplier, the business should still take steps to understand the full terms of the existing patent to make sure that their use of it will not cross over into infringement. Use infringement could relate to a computer code that was used to develop a company’s new software system, a manufacturing equipment or even a patented design.

In addition to using a product that is patented without permission, the National Paralegal College states that patent infringement can be committed through the following:

  • An invention with a patent is brought in from another country
  • Selling a product that has been patented
  • Offering a product with a patent for sale
  • Making an invention that is already patented

These infringements are referred to as a direct patent infringement. Furthermore, it should be noted that a business or person cannot claim ignorance as a defense. For example, if a company uses a software but doesn’t know it has a patent, the company can still be found to have committed infringement.