Mark Your Territory: The Power of Patent Marking to Protect Your Inventions
Have you ever seen printed or embossed patent numbers listed on products or product packaging?
In the United States, patent marking is the act of placing a notice on a product, packaging, or associated documentation to indicate that the product is protected by an issued patent. The notice typically includes the word “patent” or abbreviation “pat.”, followed by the patent number or numbers. These notices can be placed on the product itself, on its packaging, or on any accompanying documentation, such as manuals or instructions. Additionally, products that are the subject of a pending patent application may be marked with the term “Patent Pending”.
The purpose of patent marking is to inform the public that the product is protected by a patent and to deter potential infringers from using or copying the product without permission. By marking their products with patent notices, patent owners can also potentially increase their damages in the event that someone infringes their patent. In order to maintain the benefits of patent marking, it is important for patent owners to keep their patent markings up to date and accurate as their patents expire or new ones are granted.
An alternative form of patent marking is virtual patent marking. Virtual patent marking is the act of labeling an invention with a digital notice that’s easily accessible online. Instead of physically marking every product with a patent number, a patent owner can simply include a link to a website on the product or in the product’s documentation. The website should include a listing of the relevant patent numbers corresponding to the product. This makes it easier for patent owners to update the patent marking when new patents are granted.