Patent infringement lawyers represent clients in cases related to patent law. Patent law is the law in the United States that protects the rights to inventions. A patent grants the person to whom it is issued the exclusive right to produce an invention, and to bar others from producing a product based on the same ideas.
Patents are necessary in the US to protect innovation and creativity. Patent law is especially useful in the fields of technology and medicine. Without the right to protect and patent an idea, the incentive to invest money in research and development would be stifled.
A patent lasts for a set period of time, depending on the nature of the patent. During the period of time in which a patent is valid, the original creator is entitled to be the exclusive manufacturer and distributor of the patented item. The patent holder can license others to produce the product, and can sue anyone who produces the product without a license.
Patent infringement lawyers can represent either patent holders or those accused of violating a patent law. A patent infringement lawyer who represents a patent holder will sue anyone accused of producing a patented invention without a license. A patent infringement lawyer who represents a person accused of violating a patent will defend that person against the accusations.
A patent holder can sue for various types of damages if someone violates their exclusive right to produce the patented product. The patent holder can sue for monetary damages and recover money that the violator earned through the illegal creation or sale of the patented product. The patent holder can also sue for injunctive relief to ask the court to require the violator to stop producing or selling the patented product.
Patent infringement lawyers help a client to determine which type of relief he should seek. A patent infringement lawyer will also help build a case against the person who allegedly violated the patent's protection. This can involve demonstrating that the violator is producing a product the same, or substantially similar, to the patented item.
Famous patent infringement cases include a lawsuit that NTP brought against Research in Motion, the company that produces BlackBerry® Phones. Patent infringement lawyers for NTP represented the company, and claimed that Research in Motion was producing BlackBerry® devices using the technology patented by NTP. In March of 2006, Research in Motion and BlackBerry® settled and Blackberry paid NTP $612.5 million.
Patent infringement lawyers who represent plaintiff's aim to demonstrate that the technology or product being marketed is sufficiently different from the patented technology. This can involve contacting expert witnesses. It can also involve demonstrating that the original patent was invalid.