As a business owner, exclusivity can be crucial to your success, especially if you have created original products. If someone else copies your ideas and passes them off as their own, it could destroy your market.
That’s why you have hopefully already applied for patents to protect any original products you created. Yet that does not guarantee you won’t encounter someone you think is infringing your patent.
Are you sure they are infringing it?
Do not be afraid to ask for opinions from people outside your company who are not as emotionally involved as you. Just because you see something as an infringement does not mean it is. A new set of eyes may help you determine it definitely is or highlight that it is actually very different.
Are you sure you have a valid patent?
It’s not unknown for people to threaten a patent lawsuit only for the other party to point out that the patent is out of date, was never registered, or is not valid in their region. Checking the status of your work can potentially save a lot of embarrassment and expense.
Are you sure it is affecting you?
You might be upset that someone else has had the same idea as you or directly copied yours. But you need to consider whether it is really doing you any harm. In some cases, taking action against someone who is not causing you any real harm could backfire and end up causing you considerable financial and reputational harm. For example, if someone produces something very similar but gives it away for charitable purposes, you could come out looking miserly if you try to stop them. Customers and other businesses may shun you, which could affect your profits.
You may benefit from seeking legal guidance if you wish to learn more about how to determine the validity of a patent breach claim and what other options are available.