As someone who enjoys using social media to express your interests and to show off your products, you're aware that there is always a threat of someone using your work without your permission. Even if you have a patent, there is a chance that the patent could be infringed upon.
The bad news about having an infringed patent is that it makes you less likely to be competitive in the market. Others might start making products identical to yours. Even if they're not identical, they might be so similar that consumers don't mind whom they buy the product from. This is extremely harmful to businesses.
What should you do if you realize your patent has been infringed upon?
The first step needs to be talking to your attorney. You have to make sure you're cautious about how you move forward. You want to be the person who makes the first move in a lawsuit, for instance, but you don't want to wait too long.
In federal court, only the first patent infringement case is heard. If the other party files first and claims that you're infringing on their property, then you could have a struggle ahead of you. The best thing to do is to stay quiet about the infringement until your attorney is ready to file the lawsuit without their knowledge. This will give you the upper hand in court.
Won't the other party withdraw their product if they know you've discovered infringement?
No, many won't. They will do what they can to make the courts determine that your patent is invalid, or they might take steps to show that they didn't infringe on your patent, even if the products are similar. For this reason, it's in your best interests not to contact the other party before you speak to your attorney. Your attorney can prepare court documents first. Once a formal lawsuit is started, your attorney can reach out or have them served, which may start negotiations or result in the product being pulled from the market.
It is not always easy to protect your patent, but with the right actions, you can make sure that you have the upper hand in a case. It is not fair for others to benefit from your hard work, so it's a good idea to do all you can to protect your interests while following the steps needed to stop the infringement from taking place.