Enforcement and defence
Enforcing your patents
Once a patent has been granted (and, to a limited extent, after a patent application has been published), you can enforce it against third parties. The most straightforward way of doing this is by stating that you have a patent (pending), for example on your website or product packaging. However, this isn’t always fully sufficient, and you are forced to deal with patent infringement.
Naturally, we will be there to support you as soon as this comes to your attention. After verifying that the allegedly infringing product is indeed covered by the patent’s scope of protection, we decide together what action to pursue against the infringing party.
We often start by sending the other party a letter requesting that they cease their infringement. We may end up finding a solution, but if it’s necessary we will file an infringement suit before the court, working with an ip lawyer of your choice.
Defence against third-party patents
You may also find yourself unintentionally infringing on third-party patents. This may have come to your attention through a letter, or because we are monitoring your competitors’ patent position.
If it turns out that patent applications have been filed, or patents have been granted, which could potentially prove problematic, we will try to find arguments to have them declared invalid. These arguments generally consist of evidence that the patented subject matter was already publicly known before the patent application was filed. Sometimes this evidence is readily available, and if this is not the case we can search for it.
If there is enough evidence that a patent should not have been granted, we can file an invalidity suit with the national court in the country for which the patent was granted. For European patents, opposition may be raised with the European Patent Office (EPO), during the nine months from the publication date of the mention of the grant of the European patent. These opposition cases often end with a hearing before the European Patent Office in Rijswijk or Munich. We have extensive experience with this type of litigation, with a high success rate.
In some cases, an invalidity suit or opposition is filed against a patent for which we filed an application; in this case, we will notify you and present arguments to defend the patent. We also assess the strength of the competitor’s arguments and check whether the patent can be maintained, with modifications if necessary.