Your patents can be extraordinarily valuable. Yet, as with any intellectual property, its value can quickly be diminished if you’re not careful in how you police your rights. After all, infringement occurs all the time, and those who misappropriate protected property are oftentimes only held accountable when the rights holder takes legal action.
In most patent infringement cases, the rights-holder focuses on taking legal action against those who have directly infringed on the patent. This occurs when the protected property is created by another party and used without permission. But there are a lot of other infringing activities that have to be shut down if you hope to fully protect your intellectual property.
Don’t overlook contributory infringement
Contributory infringement, for example, is often overlooked. Here, one party supplies parts or components of the patented property to another party with the intent that the second party will use those parts or components to infringe on the patent. In order to successfully show contributory infringement, the part or component that is supplied must have no other commercial use.
Of course, before you can prove contributory infringement you have to show that there is direct infringement. So, in many instances you can start your patent litigation off with a direct infringement claim and then trace the parts and components back to their source to see if contributory infringement existed. Remember, you’ll have to be able to show that there was no other non-infringing commercial use for the parts or components in question, and you’re going to have to show some intent to infringe.
Take a holistic approach to your infringement case
If you suspect that your patent has been infringed upon, then you owe it to yourself to put in the work necessary to identify every party that has played a role in that misappropriation. This is the best way to not only ensure that you recover the compensation that you’re owed, but also to deter others from engaging in infringing behaviors in the future.
These matters can be quite complicated, and the evidence can be nuanced, which is why you may want to have a strong legal advocate on your side. If you agree, then we encourage you to read more of our website to learn about what we have to offer our clients.