Patent infringement is a serious matter. Entrepreneurs and designers put in hard work with the hope that their device or method will lead to a significant sale or regularly sustainable profits. If you have a patented device, you own the rights to that device. No one else may copy it or use it for any reason without first coming to you for consent. If you suspect that patent infringement has occurred, it may help you to know what, exactly, infringement entails and how courts determine infringement.

The ways infringement may happen

There are a few different ways infringement can occur. There is what is considered literal infringement. Literal infringement involves taking all patent claims and using them as your own. Infringement may occur even if you add elements to a patented device. The second means of infringement is known as the Doctrine of Equivalents.

The Doctrine of Equivalents addresses infringement on the basis of equivalent use. In other words, if the accused party’s device is of the same function as the accuser’s, it operates in substantially the same way and its intent is for the same result, the device of the accused may be infringing on the original patent.

Damages in a patent infringement case

If a lawsuit for patent infringement is successful, the plaintiff may receive damages for the following losses:

  • Loss of profits
  • Legal fees
  • Royalties
  • Treble damages

Note that you may ask the court to issue a preliminary injunction. If approved, this injunction would keep the defendant from continued use or sale of the device in question.