U.S. patent law has long required that patent owners and any licensees mark products they sell with the patent number of any patents covering such products in order to recover pre-suit damages resulting from infringement. Until the passage of the America Invents Act (“AIA”), compliance with the patent marking statute required that a list of patents appear on a covered product itself, although it was sometimes sufficient to mark the product packaging. In either case, compliance with the marking statute led to increased manufacturing costs as it was often necessary to retool product molds and/or redesign packaging as additional patents were deemed to cover a product or as patents expired. The end result was that patent owners were placed at a competitive disadvantage.
The AIA revises the patent marking statute to provide an alternative means for marking a product. Effective immediately, it is now sufficient to mark covered products with the words “patent” or “pat.,” followed by a freely accessible website address that provides information associating the patented product with the particular patent number(s) covering such product. For example, a product could be properly marked as follows: “Patent (www.anycorp.com/patents).”
The new alternative option for patent marking provided by the AIA will hopefully reduce some of the costs associated with complying with the law. Our attorneys stand ready to assist you in fashioning a new “virtual” patent marking strategy that best fits your company’s needs.
Zach Hilton is an associate at Carstens & Cahoon, LLP. His primary areas of practice include patent and trademark prosecution, litigation and licensing.This blog is maintained by Carstens & Cahoon, LLP to inform readers of recent developments in intellectual property. Solely informational in nature, this blog is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship or to be used as a substitute for legal advice or opinions. For more information, please visit www.cclaw.com.By Zach W. Hilton