Protecting Yourself from Patent Infringement

Whether you work for a large corporation or are a single entity unto yourself, inventing new products or product enhancements is very difficult work. It takes time, energy, money, intelligence, creativity, motivation, failure, and of course, and sweat.

Patent infringement isn’t just a financial threat to you, it is an insult to your work and your abilities. It is the adult version of cheating on a test, and it is insulting. Wanting to protect yourself from it is only natural. Patent infringement is one of today’s fastest growing white collar, silent crimes and being concerned about it as an inventor is prudent and aptly justified.

There are various steps one can take to attempt to protect themselves from it, although the steps may vary significantly depending on where you work and who you work for. If you work for yourself, the simple and most effective method of protecting yourself from patent infringement is to hire a attorney.

A patent infringement attorney can obviously guide you step by step through the process of self protection. Attorneys are in fact experts in this delicate arena of law, and having a patent infringement attorney on your side through the entire stage of development, patent registration, as well as creating and marketing the final product can enhance your protection from patent infringement.

An attorney can in no way guarantee that you will not be the victim of this malicious form of intellectual theft, but an attorney can not only narrow your chances of becoming a victim but also start off a case much more prosecutable if you are ever robbed of your patent rights.

Patent infringement attorneys are well versed in patent laws and exactly what constitutes a patent violation. Attorneys also have better resources for discovering patent violations as well as assisting in the prevention of patent violations. If you go through the process of hiring an attorney to help you avoid patent infringement, it is highly recommended you follow their advice.

I read a story just recently of a company who was found guilty of patent infringement, despite the fact that they had retained an attorney to help them avoid a patent violation. Though the company consulted regularly with the attorney, the final product ended up being exactly what the attorney had recommended against, and sure enough, pretty soon their attorney was representing them in defense of a lawsuit.

The company maintained that the infringement was so small they did not feel it was necessary to rework the entire product over a minor technicality. The attorney had explained to them, and then the jury explained to them, that patent infringement can be small or large, but it is still patent infringement.

The moral of that story is simple and basic, but bears being stated at least once, and perhaps twice. If you bother to hire an attorney, take the patent infringement attorney’s advice seriously. He or she is likely to know what they are talking about and you asked them to keep you from infringing on anyone else’s patent rights.

When selecting a patent infringement attorney, explain to them the industry you are creating your invention or product for, and determine whether or not they have suitable knowledge of maintaining your ability to create a new invention without stepping on anyone else’s patent infringement rights, or as the case may be, that they have ample knowledge is maintaining your patent rights throughout the entire process.

You are choosing an attorney either to help you create your invention without being accused of a patent violation or to keep others from violating your rights. Either way, an attorney should have some idea about the industry you are serving with your invention or product. Often, a little bit of industry knowledge can go a long way.

The only exception to this is if they have an ample support staff which can find out the necessary information to assist you through the process. Sometimes it is not always about having the knowledge but about being able to adequately and efficiently obtain the necessary knowledge.

Hiring a well qualified attorney is just one of those basic steps to protecting yourself from patent infringement that so many individuals and companies overlook. There is simply no substitute for professional advice from an attorney.

Nick Johnson, lead counsel and founding partner of Johnson Law Group, represents individuals or companies with cases involving patent infringement. Find more information at: or call 1-888-311-5522

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