Knowing how to make a product doesn’t mean you legally can

| Dec 8, 2020 | Patent Law

Trying to stay relevant in the consumer economy can be quite difficult. Even if you’ve had a successful product for years, people may decide they don’t like one of the ingredients or that they prefer the features of a competing product.

Making a product that consumers want often requires specific knowledge about consumer preferences and what your competitors do. Whether the product in question is a face cream with a secret chemical formula or a kitchen implement made with a special alloy to prevent rusting and reaction with acidic ingredients, knowing how to make something is crucial to your ability to produce what consumers want.

However, just because you have information about a recipe or a specific manufacturing process doesn’t mean that you can create and sell products with that information. It is possible that you could infringe on someone’s patent if you aren’t careful when you produce a new product or change how you make an existing one.

The government does make information about patents publicly available

People are often confused about patent protections in part because the information about the patents granted by the government becomes public domain. Part of the reason that the information about the patented discovery, formula or process is public domain is to encourage others to continue innovating, and part of it is to allow people to verify if an idea is already protected by a patent.

Unfortunately, some people might take patented information and try to use it for their own financial gain while a patent is still in effect. It is critical that your company does adequate research to ensure that there is not a patent protecting a formula or process before you invest in the creation of a new product.

You can defend against allegations of patent infringement

When you violate someone’s patent, you eat into their ability to monetize their research or investments. They have the option of taking legal action against you both to force you to stop violating their patents and to seek compensation for what they believe is the financial impact of your actions.

If you find yourself accused of violating a patent, defending yourself against those allegations can not only protect your business from lost revenue but potentially also ensure that you have the right to continue making products that are profitable for your company.