You have worked hard to come up with an invention and protect your creation with a patent. It can be devastating to know that another person or company is trying to use your patented invention for their own personal gain, without your consent. Filing a lawsuit in California against the parties attempting to benefit from your hard work may be the best way to protect your invention and recover damages for any financial harm they may have caused you.
Filing a claim for patent infringement
As the owner of a patent, it is important that you know how to establish patent infringement in a court of law. The U.S. Patent Act states that you will have six years from the date of the alleged infringement to file your claim. Proving the following elements is necessary to ensure the success of your claim.
You own an active, valid patent
Patents do not last indefinitely, so you will need to make sure you file your claim while your patent is still active. The defendant will also try to show that your patent is invalid by showing that it is ambiguous, obvious, or not ‘novel.’ You will have to defend against these claims and establish the validity of your patent.
The defendant infringed on the patent
You will need to establish that the defendant directly or indirectly infringed on your patent.
Direct infringement essentially means that the defendant is using, selling, producing, or importing your patented invention without permission. Even if the defendant did not intentionally infringe on your work or was completely unaware of your invention, they could still be liable for direct infringement.
Indirect infringement can be more complicated in that the defendant may not have infringed on your work but has caused a third party to do so. Contributory infringement and induced infringement are two types of indirect infringement.
- Contributory infringement – The defendant knowingly contributes to someone else’s direct infringement of a patent.
- Induced infringement – The defendant is aware of the patent and actively induces the infringement of the patent.
Patent litigation can be complicated, but well worth it if it means protecting your idea or invention. An attorney specializing in intellectual property can help you recover damages if your patent was infringed by another party.