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Patents - The Basics

Some people may think that once you have obtained patent protection for your product, you need do nothing further to protect your rights against infringement or to claim damages from an infringer.

However, in many jurisdictions, merely being the owner of a patent is not sufficient to justify a claim for damages, because an ‘innocent infringer’ (someone who violates a patent because they are unaware that the patent exists) can rely on their lack of knowledge of the patent as a defence.

Making the existence of your patent common knowledge is therefore important. Indeed, in some countries, it is obligatory to identify patented products as such and to show the patent number. Failure to do so can mean that damages from infringers cannot be claimed.

It is also unlawful in some jurisdictions to mark a product as patented if, in fact, it is not.

Patent law varies throughout the world, and the steps that have to be taken to safeguard patent rights vary also.