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Patents provide inventors with a legally protectable monopoly over their inventions and protect new and innovative technical features of products and processes. They normally last for a limited period of 20 years depending on the country.
To qualify for patent protection, an invention must be:
To obtain a patent, an application for a patent needs to be filed; this will normally be with the patent office of the country where the inventor works.
Patents can provide a high level of protection and are highly important in some industries; this is clearly seen in the case of pharmaceutical companies, who spend millions of pounds and extensive time on research and development.
The process for registering a patent is not easy and can be expensive. It also exposes a product to competitors through public disclosure of the technology behind it without the competitor breaching the patent.
To make a claim, you must be either the proprietor of the patent or an exclusive licensee. There are various acts that constitute an infringement. There is a slight distinction between the claims that can be made regarding a patented product or a process.
For a patented product, the offences are:
For a patented process, the offences are:
These offences directly infringe on the owner of the patent’s rights. A claim can also be made if someone indirectly infringes on the patent proprietor’s rights. This is where someone supplies or offers to supply in the UK a person with any of the means for putting the invention into effect, relating to an essential element of the invention.
There is a knowledge requirement for this offence meaning that the person who is accused must have known or it would have been obvious to a reasonable person that the means are suitable for putting the invention into effect in the UK and are intended to do so.
The essential element of patent infringement is that it is done without the permission of the proprietor.
If you are a defendant in a patent infringement claim, you may be able to defend the claim using one of the statutory exceptions under the Patent Act or other defences. For example, acts done privately do not constitute patent infringement; they must be done in a commercial context. Other defences include experimental use and prior use.
Remedies for patent infringement include:
Intellectual property proceedings such as patent infringement claims can be technical and complicated and are dealt with by specialist Courts in England and Wales. At Myerson, we can provide you with swift advice whether you are bringing or defending a claim.
Myerson are members of the Intellectual Property Lawyers Association (IPLA). The IPLA is an association of approximately 66 law firms who have an established intellectual property department. The fact we are a member of the IPLA demonstrates that we have extensive and detailed experience in the conduct of IP disputes in the UK. One of the main objectives of the IPLA is to lobby for improvements to IP law and practice for the benefit of those who hold IP rights.
Myerson are a nationally recognised law firm with a large team of intellectual property solicitors. Our intellectual property team is ranked by the prestigious Legal 500 law firm directory. Therefore, you can be assured that you will receive the best quality advice and service offering.
Home-grown or recruited from national, regional or City firms. Our specialists are experts in their fields and respected by their peers.
Carla is a Partner in our Corporate Commercial department
Vicky is a Senior Associate in our Commercial Litigation & Construction departments
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