Investing in research and development could give your business a competitive edge. When you discover a new process for use in your factories or develop an entirely new product, you can potentially protect that innovation with a patent. The same is true of any innovation when you purchase the rights to the concept from the inventor.
The successful prosecution of a patent will allow you to establish and potentially enforce your right to sole control over your patented concept. Unfortunately, patent infringement is a common issue.
What are your rights when you believe that a competitor has violated your patent?
You have the right to ask the courts for help
Although many businesses will start the enforcement process with direct communication with the other business, in part to clarify what has happened or to encourage them to stop violating a patent, the enforcement process doesn’t truly begin in earnest until you notify the courts of the alleged violation.
You will then need to prepare for your day in front of a judge. You will need to show that what occurred was a clear violation and not the result of independent invention, which is a term for another party inventing the same process or item at the same time that you do. They may even have a patent for their similar and yet distinct process.
Proper research will be crucial to establishing your company’s position as the patent holder and the other company’s actions as a clear violation of your rights.
How the courts can help
If you convince a judge that another business has infringed on your patent rights, there are several ways that the courts can facilitate an appropriate resolution to the matter. They can order the other party to cease the activities that infringe on your patent. They can also potentially award you financial damages for lost sales because of the infringement.
Initiating a lawsuit could even spur discussions and facilitate the process of licensing in a scenario where the competitor desperately wants to continue using your patented idea. Knowing and asserting your rights when dealing with a patent violation will help your company protect its market share and intellectual property rights.