Infringement and Validity

This discussion is based on UK Patent law, but the general principles apply to patent infringement in most countries.

A patent is infringed if a product is made, sold or a method is carried out (as the case may be) which falls within the scope of the claims of the patent, that is its legal definition.

A claim is infringed if, and only if, each and every feature of the claim is present in the alleged infringement. If one feature is omitted, there is no infringement

Claims generally have a number of book found features that set the scene of what was known before the invention and one or more features which are new with the invention. If the new features are taken, infringement is likely, unless there is a marked difference in the use of the old features.

Claim language can be difficult for a number of reasons and may need careful thought and interpretation to decide what it really means.

Patents are a right to sue for infringement. A suit can be brought in the High Court in a special patent consulting court. Both suing and defending against an infringement are eye-wateringly expensive. However, it is only a small minority of patents that are eventually litigated. In practice, competitors read each other’s patents.

Many patents can be designed around. The skill of drafting a patent is to force the competitor into a more expensive design around.

If push really comes to shove, I have access to specialist barristers and solicitors for enforcement of patents and defence against infringement actions.