General Questions About Patents
Typically, the inventor or inventors. However, if an inventor has sold his
or her rights, then the purchaser will own the invention and be able to obtain
a patent. If the inventor makes the invention under an employment contract,
the employer may own the invention and have the right to the patent.
In the United States, there are three kinds of patents: utility patents, design
patents and plant patents.
All utility patents include one or more patent claims. A design patent
includes a single patent claim. A claim in a patent descripes the metes
and bounds of the right which the patent confers on the patentee to exclude
others from making, using or selling the patented invention.
No. Patent protection must be obtained in each country in which protection
of an invention or design is desired.
A patentability search, sometimes called a preliminary search or a novelty
search, is conducted to determine whether it is likely that an invention can
In the United States, a patentability search most often consists of a search
of prior issued United States patents conducted at the US Patent and Trademark
Office or via online searches of certain patent databases, or both. A patentability
search may also include a search of technical literature in the field of the
It is generally advisable to conduct a patentability search. In the United
States alone, there are a large number of patents (over 6,000,000) already
issued, arranged in approximately 460 classes and more than 140,000 subclasses.
Owing to the large number of patents previously issued, it is possible that
an invention may not meet the patentability requirements of novelty or unobviousness
due to prior existing patents.
The words "patent pending" or "patent applied for" is a
way of notifying the public that an application has been made for a patent.
"Patent pending" should not be used on a product unless a patent application
has been filed for the article on which the patent pending notice is given.
Yes. Patent owners and persons making or selling any patented article may give
notice to the public that an article is patented, either by placing the word "patent" or
the abbreviation "pat.", together with the patent number, on the
patent article, or when this can not be done due to the nature of the article,
by fixing to it, or to the package in which one or more of the patented articles
is contained, a label containing such notice.
In the case of an infringement, no damages can be recovered, except on proof
that the infringer was notified of the infringement and continued to infringe
thereafter, in which event damages may be recovered only for infringements
occurring after such notice. The filing of a lawsuit for infringement constitutes
Patent infringement can be direct, indirect or contributory. Direct patent
infringement is the unauthorized manufacture, use, offer for sale, sale or
importation of a patented invention. Indirect infringement occurs if a person
actively encourages another to directly infringed a patent. Contributory infringement
is committed by knowingly selling or supplying an item for which the one use
is in connection with a patented invention. Good faith or ignorance is not
a defense to a claim of direct infringement, but it can be a defense for indirect
or contributory infringement.
The remedies for patent infringement include:
2. Damages, including treble damages for willful infringement.
3. Attorney's fees for the prevailing party in exceptional cases.
4. Court costs.
No. The issuance of a patent is a prerequisite and, in addition, a patent owner
cannot retroactively recover damages for acts occurring prior to the issuance
of the patent.