Patent infringements are a common occurrence, especially in a world where new products are designed, manufactured, and sold worldwide and where copycats are a dime a dozen. Many of these infringements become lawsuits or litigations that affect both the complainant and the defendant. The effects can be surprising, too, such as when the complainant ends up shouldering huge litigation expenses that could have been avoided if an amicable settlement was made. Here take a look on the U.S. patent infringement lawsuit for ease of understanding.
The bottom line: Be careful about filing a patent infringement lawsuit because it can have unforeseen consequences. But if you have a great patent lawyer and you have just cause, then you may well benefit from filing it. Here are a few things that you may want to know.
All patent infringement actions have to be filed in the United States District Courts, the general courts of the country’s federal court system. The venue makes sense because patents are considered national in scope and, thus, their litigations should be heard in a national (i.e., federal) court.
Since there’s at least one judicial district for every state, as well as in the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, and the United States Virgin Islands, the issue of geographical location shouldn’t be a big deal. Currently, there are 94 judicial districts in 50 states and the territories.
The patent infringement action should be filed within six years, maximum, after the date in which the infringement occurred in order to recover damages. Unlike other statutes of limitations, furthermore, the six-year period can be extended when the parties agree to it. For example, a tolling agreement can be in effect while the settlement negotiations are in progress.
But the six-year prescription period cannot be extended by reason of concealment or fraud. For example, if you discover that your invention was incorporated in a machinery 10 years after the fact, you’re unlikely to sue for damages if the infringer covered up the use. We have to say that the rules and regulations of patent infringements don’t automatically favor the patent owner or holder.
While patent infringement lawsuits can be under a jury, the judge alone has the responsibility to interpret the claims for patent ownership made by the plaintiff and the counterclaims of the defendant. The judge and/or jury examines the patent and makes comparisons of the elements made in the lawsuit, said comparison being between the patent’s design and the infringer’s product or process.
From the comparisons made, the judge or jury then decides on the merit of the plaintiff’s claims actually and significantly cover the defendant’s product or process. In case of a read on, the legal term used to describe the plaintiff’s claim covering the product or process, then an infringement offense can be considered.