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Patent law is complex and so are the circumstances in which patent infringement can be identified. If you obtain a patent, you should be aware of what constitutes patent infringement since you are the best person to watch out for such an offense. While the US Patent and Trademark Office handles the granting of patents, it does not get involved in patent infringement cases. Even though patent protection is relatively easy to understand, determining if a particular patent is being infringed upon requires due diligence.
Here are the basics: if someone is manufacturing or producing your product, it is direct patent infringement; if someone uses your patented invention, it is direct infringement such as using a battery you invented to power their own machine; if someone is selling or merely offering for sale your product, it is patent infringement. Keep in mind, it is never as easy as this sounds. If the patented invention is highly technical, the scope of meaning of the claims you patented could be interpreted differently by different people. You should first obtain all you can about the patent including the file wrapper, a folder that holds everything that has happened on a particular patent. Then, you have to search the language of each individual claim separately focusing on independent claims first.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|