Patent infringement and how to avoid it

Patent holders have the exclusive right to exploit their inventions commercially. This means that, without the holder’s permission, others cannot use the invention. Commercial exploitation of an invention includes the making, using, selling, marketing, importing or possessing of the patented item.

Is somebody infringing on your patent?

It is up to the patent holder to watch for possible infringements. You must be active to take a hand in an infringement. For example, you might send a letter to the infringer and demand that the infringement be stopped. If it is impossible to reconcile voluntarily, you can bring a suit before the Market Court.

The patentee can also seek compensation for damages. It is possible to get reasonable compensation for an infringement taking place during the application procedure, if a patent will be granted later for the invention. Wilful infringement can also result in a fine. The court can prohibit the infringer from continuing or repeating the act, or order that the infringing items be destroyed.

Go to Market Court’s website.

Are you infringing on somebody’s patent?

If you fear that you are infringing on a certain patent, or if you are accused of infringement, first check that a relevant patent really exists. Get the patent publication and find out whether the patent is still in force. If so, in which countries, and what is the exact scope of protection determined by the patent claims.

Maybe the patent is not valid in the country where you are operating, or maybe your product or method does not exactly agree with the patent claims. If you still suspect that you have infringed on somebody’s patent, hire a patent attorney or an advocate who knows the IPR. You may be able to settle the matter with the patent holder, with a licence agreement as the outcome.

Even if you have been infringing, the patent may have been granted on false grounds, which means that the invention is neither new nor involves an inventive step. In this case, you can sue for the invalidation of the patent before the Market Court. If the opposition period has not expired yet, you can file an opposition against the patent.

One way to find out if there are novelty or inventiveness obstacles to a patent is to order a ‘preliminary novelty search’ from us.

Read more about the preliminary novelty search.
Read more about the opposition.

Freedom to operate (FTO)

Are you starting up a manufacture, sale, marketing or import business? Find out if you are infringing on somebody’s patent.

By avoiding any infringement in advance, you will save in compensations and fines, but also in unnecessary product development and investment costs.

Look for relevant patents and patent applications in patent databases to ensure that you will not be infringing on anybody’s patent. Patents in force in Finland are recorded in the PatInfo and FI-EP databases. You can also search in the Espacenet international database, which includes European patent applications to be validated in Finland and international PCT applications. Furthermore, you are welcome to order from us an ‘examination of obstacles to marketing or manufacturing’, a search for patents and applications which might stop you from operating in Finland.

Read more about our examination of obstacles to marketing or manufacturing.
Go to PatInfo.
Go to the FI-EP service.
Go to Espacenet.

More information:

Printable version
Latest update 16.06.2015