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Patent Infringement and Litigation

The U.S. and foreign governments issue patents as a means of promoting new industrial achievements. Patents protect developments in manufacturing and technology by allowing inventors to restrict access to their work. If you hold a patent, you may prohibit anyone else from making, using, or selling your invention. When you discover someone has violated your patent, you have the right to sue for damages in federal and international courts.

Top Chicago Patent Law Firm

The Chicago patent lawyers of Roth Fioretti concentrate in patent infringement and litigation cases, helping patent holders safeguard their inventions. Over the years, we’ve helped clients win millions in damages in intellectual property infringement cases and have also defended individuals and businesses accused of patent infringement.

Patent Infringement

Patent infringement involves someone using a protected invention without the permission of the patent holder. The law defines infringement broadly, but there are a few common forms:

  • Direct Infringement – A literal duplicate copy or significantly similar item
  • Indirect Infringement – Enabling or encouraging infringement by another
  • Assisting another to commit an act of infringement

In cases of literal infringement, an infringer duplicates the exact claims described in the patent. Under other circumstances, courts analyze infringement using the “doctrine of equivalents.” If the product in question performs the same task in the same way and produces the same results, it may be ruled an act of infringement.

Patent Dispute and Litigation

It is up to the patent holder to prove any infringement of a patent. To protect his or her interest in the invention, a patent holder must pursue legal action against the infringing party within six years of the violation. For businesses that file numerous applications in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, this relatively short statute of limitations means they must actively guard against infringement by competitors. Though the enforcement process may become costly and labor intensive, protecting a patent ultimately saves the patent holder from losing sales and market share, which are typically worth far more than the cost of enforcing the patent. By effectively enforcing patents, a business may recover legal costs by suing for damages or selling licensing agreements to other firms.

 

In an infringement suit, defendants have many opportunities to defeat the accusation of infringement:

  • A defendant may argue the offending item does not violate all of the patent’s claims
  • Some defendants attempt to prove the original patent was obtained using fraudulent means
  • A patent may be invalidated if the invention does not meet all legal requirements for a patent

In a successful infringement suit, courts may award a patent holder damages including lost sales revenue, the value of any lost market share, and all litigation expenses. With the stakes so high, it’s rare for such cases to go on to a full trial. Many parties settle infringement cases through negotiations before making it to court.

Chicago IL Patent Lawyer

To maintain market share and protect future sales or license revenues, it’s imperative that you take the appropriate steps to protect your invention with a patent certificate. Our qualified attorneys can protect your interests by enforcing your rights in patent infringement litigation. We also represent defendants in infringement suits, investigating the validity of the accusations and lending our expertise to your case. With decades of experience as patent litigators, our legal team offers a wide range of patent law and intellectual property services.