What is Patent Infringement Law?

Felicia Dye

A patent is a property right granted for an invention. Such a property right offers the holder of the patent a great deal of protection. Patent infringement law refers to a body of legislation that outlines and protects the rights of patent holders. This body of legislation also outlines the limitations of a patent and can be used by accused individuals to formulate a defense.

Patent infringement law is a body of legislation that outlines and protects the rights of patent holders.
Patent infringement law is a body of legislation that outlines and protects the rights of patent holders.

When a person invents something, she can obtain a patent, which will recognize her as the owner of that idea. In the United States (US), a patent is obtained from the US Patent and Trademark Office. When the patent is granted, a person is given “the right to exclude others from making, using, offering for sale, or selling” the idea that is now protected.

The assistance of an attorney may be necessary when patent infringement laws are violated.
The assistance of an attorney may be necessary when patent infringement laws are violated.

Although the rights of a patent holder may seem clear, there are many disputes that arise regarding violations of the protection offered to inventors. These issues can be complex enough to necessitate the commissioning of a patent attorney. One such issue is a situation where a patent has been granted and another individual wishes to obtain a patent or sell a product that is very similar. Disputes also arise when an inventor is an employee at the time when he creates a product and the company wishes to obtain the patent.

A person can be deemed an infringer for indirect actions. According to patent law as outlined in United States Code (USC), it is unlawful to induce others to infringe upon a patent. Furthermore, it is unlawful to import or sell any parts in the US which may be used by a third party for the infringement of a patent.

Patent infringement law also outlines the limitations of a patent. In many instances, these parts of the law may be used for defense when someone is accused of patent violations. For example, patent infringement law limits the life a patent to 20 years. Boundaries are another limitation specifically outlined by patent infringement law. A patent that is granted by the US Patent and Trademark Office is only valid in the US and in its territories and possessions.

When patent infringement occurs, however, it is a federal offense. This means that cases regarding patent infringement law are heard in federal courts. When it is found that a person has violated the law, common remedies include the payment of damages to the victim and orders to discontinue the violating acts.

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