If you have just received a patent infringement notice, you may not know what to do next. If your company has made, used, or sold a product that has already been patented, you may receive notice of patent infringement.
Receiving a patent infringement notice can be very frightening. You may not think it can happen to you, but it can. Here is what you can do if you receive a notice.
Figure out if the patent is valid or not
A patent is valid for 20 years but there are stipulations. The patent holder must pay maintenance fees to keep the patent valid. If they have not paid the fees, the patent is abandoned, and you will not be charged with infringement.
In addition, the patent will be considered invalid if it contains incorrect information or does not meet legal standards. Also, if your process or parts differ from the patented ones, your product should not be considered infringement.
On the other hand, if the patent is valid, meaning that you knowingly or unknowingly used a patented process or design, you may be charged with direct infringement. If so, you will be subject to pay damages to the patent holder.
Patent infringement litigation: the process
Upon receiving the patent infringement notice, you have 21 days to respond. You can either contest the notice or concede. If you decide to contest the charge, you will likely have to go to court.
This process is expensive for both parties. The patent holder must prove that their patent is valid and that your product is an infringement, with documentation and evidence.
This process may be frightening and confusing. Seeking legal counsel may be beneficial or even necessary as you navigate this process. Reach out to an experienced attorney as soon as you receive the infringement notice and do not contact the patent holder until speaking to your lawyer.