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Protecting inventions may require more than a patent

Silicon Valley business owners know that companies often thrive or fail based on their ability to innovate and drive the market. Creating new ideas, solutions and products can take a company from being a startup to being an industry leader, so it is essential that these inventions are protected.

One way to do this is to patent an invention. Securing a patent allows the owner or inventor to control if and how others are able to use the protected work. It is just one way to protect intellectual property and it can drive a company's success. However, securing a patent is only part of the equation; you also need to enforce your ownership of the patent.

You can do this by notifying the infringing party of the violation and/or filing a patent infringement claim in federal court. 

Patent infringement claims can be filed against someone who:

  • Makes patented products without permission
  • Sells patented products without permission
  • Uses patented property without permission
  • Encourages someone else to use patented property without permission

These can all lead to claims of infringement. As a patent owner, you can file a legal claim to stop parties from infringing on your patent and collect financial damages.

However, someone accused of patent infringement can try to defend his or her actions by challenging the patent, your ownership of the patent or the legality of your claim. For instance, if the patent expired, the product is no longer protected; if the patent is invalid, you may not have control over the use or sale of the product; if you wait too long to file an infringement claim, the statute of limitations on such claims can expire.

Procuring a patent is just one part of the equation when it comes to protecting inventions. Holding parties accountable for infringement is also vital.

With regard to either element, legal guidance and support can be critical in making sure you as a business owner are doing what you need to do to protect intellectual property and your business. If you have questions or concerns about patent infringement or similar topics, it can be a good idea to talk to your attorney.

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