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Infringement matters: Filing a complaint is vital

You were using the internet, browsing to see what kinds of things people had made recently. It was shocking, but you came across identical photographs and information about a product you created and own the rights to. The company claims to be the designer and sells the product for less.

When another party uses, sells or makes a patented item without the permission of the patent holder, the patent holder obtains the right to sue. The patent holder, you, have a right to ask the other party to stop using your patented item. Additionally, you may sue the unauthorized party in federal court.

How long do you have to file a complaint?

You have up to six years to bring infringement actions. The timeline begins on the date of infringement. If you choose not to bring a lawsuit within that time or don't know about the infringement until after that time, you lose the right to file a lawsuit.

Are there different kinds of infringement?

Yes, there are four kinds including contributory, literal, indirect and direct. Direct infringement is generally the most serious, because it occurs only when a product covered by a parent is manufactured with no permission from the patent holder. In the majority of cases, the person creating the item is aware that he or she is violating a patent. This is a kind of willful infringement, which is a direct disregard for the other party's rights. It's intentional, which is something that makes it particularly malicious. The court will penalize those who willfully infringe on another party's property with heavy fines.

Source: FindLaw, "Patent Infringement and Litigation," accessed May 30, 2018

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