USPTO Maintenance Fees for Utility Patents are dueat 3-1/2, 7-½ and 11-½ years.
(Design Patents do not have maintenance fees.) See Fee Schedule.
Enforcement and monitoring of a patent is entirely up to the patent owner to pursue,
the USPTO does not enforce patents against infringement. See Monitoring Patents for
An infringer can be sued for damages and/or an injunction for infringement of U.S.
patents in the U.S. through the federal courts.
A patent owner (patentee) may also seek protection through exclusion orders from
the International Trade Commission barring the products at issue from entry into
the United States, as well as a cease and desist order directing the violating parties
to cease certain actions under Section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930 (19 U.S.C. 1337).
“Section 337 specifically declares the infringement of the following statutory rights
to be unlawful import practices: a U.S. patent or a U.S. copyright registered under
Title 17, [ and] a registered trademark . . . In cases involving infringement of
these intellectual property rights, there is no injury requirement.” (Source: U.S.
International Trade Commission Answers to Frequency Asked Questions.)
Infringement of Patents
Infringement of a patent consists of the unauthorized making, using, offering for
sale, or selling any patented invention within the United States or U.S. Territories,
or importing into the United States of any patented invention during the term of
the patent. If a patent is infringed, the patentee may sue for relief in the appropriate
federal court. The patentee may ask the court for an injunction to prevent the continuation
of the infringement and may also ask the court for an award of damages because of
the infringement. In such an infringement suit, the defendant may raise the question
of the validity of the patent, which is then decided by the court. The defendant
may also aver that what is being done does not constitute infringement. Infringement
is determined primarily by the language of the claims of the patent and, if what
the defendant is making does not fall within the language of any of the claims of
the patent, there is no literal infringement.
Defenses to Infringement/Patent Validity or Invalidity
As a defense to infringement, the infringer may try to have the patent held invalid
because of potential errors made in the prosecution of the patent and patent application
in areas such as prior art consideration, fraud, misrepresentation, inequitable conduct
or violations of duties of disclosure. A finding of “fraud,” “inequitable conduct,”
or violation of duty of disclosure with respect to any claim in an application or
patent, renders all the claims thereof unpatentable or invalid.
Another defense for unintentional infringer of business method patents comes from
the "First Inventor Defense Act of 1999" Subtitle C that provides a defense against
charges of patent infringement for a party who had, in good faith, actually reduced
the subject matter to practice at least one year before the effective filing date
of the patent, and commercially used the subject matter before the effective filing
date. The defense is limited to methods of "doing or conducting business." http://www.uspto.gov/web/offices/dcom/olia/aipa/summary.htm.
International patents-IP Protection is territorial. A U.S. patent only protects patents
in the U.S. To receive IP protection in other countries, you need to apply for protection
in those countries.
The U.S. is a member of the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) which streamlines the
process for U.S. inventors and businesses to file for patents in multiple countries.
By filing one patent application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO),
U.S. applicants can concurrently seek protection in up to 127 countries.More PCT
information can be found at the USPTO website: www.uspto.gov/go/pct/.
Whether or not one should seek protection in other countries is a cost/benefit decision.
Fees vary by country and maintenance fees are paid to each country and vary by country.
See NonProvisional.com for more information on PCT filing.
Contact Not Just Patents at 1-651-500-7590 for assistance in creating and protecting
Intellectual Property Rights (IPR).
Call: 1-651-500-7590 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org. This site is for informational
purposes only and is provided without warranties, express or implied, regarding the
information's accuracy, timeliness, or completeness and does not constitute legal
advice. No attorney/client relationship exists without a written contract between
Not Just Patents LLC and its client. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.
Call 1-651-500-7590 or email email@example.com or ContactTrademark.com for
Responses to Office Actions; File or Defend an Opposition or Cancellation; Patent
or Trademark Searches and Applications; Send or Respond to Cease and Desist Letters.
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