California businesses spend millions of dollars completing the research and development required to create something new and obtain a patent on the intellectual property.
Once a company has incurred the risk of obtaining such a patent, and is now making money from it, to have the intellectual property stolen or infringed upon can represent serious financial losses.
How patent infringement takes place
Here are the four primary ways that patent infringement happens:
- Direct infringement: This happens when another company manufactures your product, which has been protected by a patent.
- Indirect infringement: This happens when one party encourages or assists another party to infringe upon your patent.
- Contributory infringement: This happens when one party supplies a part to a direct infringer, and the part does not have any other use than an infringing one.
- Literal infringement: This happens when the words in the patent claims directly correspond with those of the infringing device.
Patent infringement penalties
A successful patent infringement lawsuit usually results in the infringer paying financial compensation to the holder of the patent. These might be paid as a reasonable royalty amount to be paid to the patent holder, or as actual damages. In the case of “willful infringement,” the infringer may need to pay triple the actual damages that the patent holder incurred. The patent holder might also be able to pursue money as compensation for litigation expenses, court filing fees and other costs. In addition to financial damages, a court might also award a permanent injunction that forces the infringer to stop producing infringing products.