How to check whether your product causes potential patent infringement
Imagine you are going to launch a product commercially but you do not know what is patent infringement and how to avoid patent infringement. For anyone facing this situation, it is important to understand the meaning of patent infringement, know if you are infringing on a patent (read this to understand how patents work) and use necessary remedies to avoid infringement, in early stages of product launch. You may want to take such preventive measures because if patent infringement is proven after your product hits the market, you may need to pay a percentage of your revenues (called ‘royalty’) to the patent owner who alleges infringement.
To find whether your product infringes on a patent, let us first understand what is patent infringement. As we now already know, an important purpose of getting a patent is to protect an invention by excluding others from making it, using it, selling it, importing it or offering it for sale without the patent owner’s consent. Any such exploitation of the patented invention without the consent of the patent owner is called patent infringement. As an example, let’s assume that you have a technical solution or a product that you are going to commercialise. In this event, some one else with a patent on that product (or your technical solution) could approach you after your product launch (and sale) to solicit royalty (licensing fee) from you, since you are exploiting their patent without their consent.
Well, such a situation cannot always be completely eliminated but its probability can be minimized to a great extent if, before launching your product, you can conduct (or get a patent professional to conduct) a thorough patent search (known as a Freedom-to-operate search in IP world). The objective of doing so is to find patents which have claims that directly map to the features of your product. This precautionary effort can make you aware at early stages of your product launch, regarding any patent risks that you may face later on.
If you want to understand how exactly to go about the above patent-risk check, here’s a detailed strategy on how you can do it yourself and that too using free search tools on the internet.
If you face any issues, let me know in the comment section and I will try to provide a solution