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In the United States, federal patent laws provide strong protections for inventors and other patent owners. However, patents are unique among the forms of intellectual property in that registration is required in order to secure protection, and delays, inadequate specifications and other issues can create complicated questions for individuals and companies claiming competing patent rights. Of course, outright patent infringement continues to be a pervasive issue in the U.S. as well, and patent holders must aggressively assert their exclusive rights against unlicensed users.
The litigators at Searcy Denney provide vigorous legal representation for patent owners and alleged infringers in Florida. Patent cases are rarely straightforward, and getting to the bottom of patent disputes requires both a thorough understanding of federal patent laws and the ability to critically assess the technical aspects involved. With decades of experience in complex patent and commercial litigation, our attorneys provide skilled, strategic and thorough representation designed to secure our clients’ rights as quickly and cost-effectively as possible.
Under the U.S. Patent Act, registered patent owners have the exclusive right to make, use and sell their patented inventions in the United States, as well as the exclusive right to import their patented inventions from foreign countries. Any individual or company that interferes with these exclusive rights, either directly or indirectly, can face liability for patent infringement. In order to infringe, the device or process in question must either (i) include each element of the patented claim, or (ii) satisfy the elements of infringement under the “doctrine of equivalents.”
There are two primary remedies in patent infringement matters: injunctive relief and monetary damages. Injunctive relief involves a court ordering the infringer (or alleged infringer in the case of preliminary injunctive relief) to cease the offending use of the patented device or process. Monetary damages compensate the patent owner for lost profits and other losses resulting from the infringement. In some cases, the prevailing party will also be entitled to attorneys’ fees.
Generally speaking, the term of protection for utility patents is 20 years from the date of application, while design patents are valid for 14 years from the date of registration. However, calculating patent terms can be complicated. To estimate the term of a patent you can use the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s Patent Term Calculator.
There are numerous potential defenses to allegations of patent infringement, and the defenses available in any particular case will depend on the unique facts and circumstances involved. Some of the types of defenses typically asserted in patent infringement litigation include:
With offices in Tallahassee and West Palm Beach, our firm represents individuals and corporate clients in patent infringement litigation throughout Florida. For a free and confidential consultation, call us at (800) 780-8607 or inquire online today.