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Enforcement: patent protection and infringement actions

In general, prosecuting a patent application to grant will be only the first step in a longer process of patent protection, enforcement and maintenance. Patent rights need to be proactively monitored, enforced and maintained throughout the entire patent life cycle (generally 20 years) if they are to fulfil the purpose for which they were acquired.

This is a basic introduction to patent protection and enforcement. For further information on the process of obtaining or maintaining patents or to read more about Novagraaf’s services, including patent drafting, prior art searching, and litigation support, click here. To contact one of our patent attorneys or to review their expertise in your sector, click here.

Preventing and monitoring for abuse

Patents are valuable monopoly rights, which enable you to block third parties from using protected technology without your permission for the duration of patent protection. Marking this technology as ‘patent protected’ and adopting a rigorous patent and/or market monitoring programme will help you to deter potential infringers and identify where infringement occurs. Speak to one of our patent attorneys for advice on prevention and monitoring tools.

Acting when infringement occurs

Before a company decides to bring a patent infringement action – or if they have one brought against them – the usual first step is to conduct a validity search. This will identify any prior disclosures that may affect the validity of a granted patent (which may make enforcement difficult). Depending on the circumstances, the search should be undertaken on a company’s own patent so as to determine whether it is valid (e.g. before commencing legal action against an infringer) or on the third party’s patent (e.g. where an infringement action has been threatened).

Novagraaf’s patent attorneys have considerable experience in providing validity searches and opinions. They routinely assist clients in challenging third-party patents during opposition and revocation proceedings, and can assist during infringement proceedings, including litigation and other forms of dispute resolution.

The patent life cycle: further information

You can find out more about tools and techniques for patent enforcement, as well as the processes for watching, enforcing and maintaining patent rights by speaking to one of our patent attorneys. Alternatively, contact our customer support team, using the contact form at the top right of this page.