Attorney at Law

What is Patent Marking?

Patent marking is defined as the act of displaying a patent number on a patented product. It is typically done by marking a creation or invention with “Patent” (or “Pat.”) followed by the product’s patent number. This type of patent marking is known as “physical marking.” “Virtual marking” is another common form of patent marking that makes it simpler to comply with marking requirements.

Patent marking is used to notify competitors, along with the rest of the general public, that the product is patented and protected by United States intellectual property laws. If your patent is unmarked, the market will not know that you are the rightful owner of the patent. Therefore, without patent marking, you will be ineligible to collect monetary damages from an infringer in cases of patent infringement

Key Takeaways

  • Patent marking refers to the act of displaying a patent number on a patent product.
  • There are two main types of patent marking: physical marking and virtual marking.
  • Proper patent marking will generally allow you to collect monetary damages in cases of patent infringement.

Virtual Marking

Virtual marking was first introduced to U.S. intellectual property law as part of the 2011 America Invents Act (AIA). Using this efficient mechanism, patent owners are now able to easily comply with the necessary requirements to receive compensation for patent infringement.

Sometimes, certain products are covered by more than one patent. It is costly and inefficient to physically list multiple patent numbers on a single product. Moreover, as more patents become issued on the same product, you would be forced to revise the physical marking to include the new patent numbers. A simple alternative to this issue can be found using virtual marking. Virtual marking allows patent owners to list a certain URL on their product, such as “Pat.,” and then include all relevant patent numbers on the URL’s site. Thanks to virtual marking, ensuring your patent rights is simple. All you need to do is list one patent marking phrase on a product and keep your website up to date with all necessary patent information.

Patent Marking Requirements

Marking has a few important requirements that must be fulfilled in order to comply with the law:

  • In virtual marking, the website used must be “accessible to the public without charge for accessing the address”
  • The marking must include the patent number or website where the patent information can be found (stating “Patented” or “Pat” is not enough)
  • The mark must be clear, legible and unconcealed
  • If marking is not possible due to sizing of the product, corresponding packaging or labeling must be marked instead.
  • If a family of products is covered by several patents, the mark can include the phrase “covered by one or more patents” followed by the list of patent numbers or website where they can be found.

Bottom Line

You have finally created a product of your own - it’s time to notify others that it’s all yours! Patent marking warns competitors and the public that the said product is protected by intellectual property laws that are not to be infringed upon. Another reason patent marking is so crucial is that in cases of infringement, proper patent marking will typically allow you to collect monetary damages. Seek professional guidance regarding your patent with Attorney At Law.

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