Legal Guide

Patent Claims – What Are They?

Generally, patent claims are disputes about the validity of patents and the protection of patent rights. They cover the same as licensing patents do: inventions, utility models, industrial designs, etc. Claims about the validity of a patent, as a general rule, are considered by the organization that issued them, whose decisions can then be appealed to the Intellectual Property Court. Let us discuss the basics of this term and what one should do if they get such a claim or, vice versa, want to protect their own rights.

What Is a Patent Claim?

Both independent patent claims and dependent patent claims are related to the emergence, changes, and terminations of rights that are linked to the results of intellectual activities certified by patents issued according to the applicable law of the country.

The objects of laws are the results in the area of science and technology, artistic design, which fully meet the conditions of the law for invention, utility model or industrial design, etc.

The general scope of legal protection, which is given by the patent for inventions or utility models, is determined by their formula and by a patent for an industrial design – by the totality of its main features displayed on the images of the product.

Arbitration courts or courts of general jurisdiction – depending on those who have made the claim – resolve claims on the protection of exclusive patent rights. In some cases, antimonopoly authorities, whose decisions can also be appealed to the court, can consider them.

Sometimes, types of patent claims refer to all objects of intellectual property: trademarks, origin, geographical indications, and even copyrights. The range of state bodies involved in the consideration of such claims is somewhat wider. However, claims about the validity of a trademark can also be considered by antimonopoly authorities as opposed to a dispute about the validity of a patent.

How to Understand What to Do with It?

While forming a position on a patent claim is a painstaking joint work of lawyers and technical specialists. To understand whether to file a claim against a competitor for infringing your patent, you need to analyze the patent claim example. And questions are the following:

  • Does its product (or method) use every feature listed in a patent or utility model?
  • If one of the signs of your invention is replaced by another, will such a replacement be considered a violation?
  • Does your competitor have a right of prior use, and if so, how did this situation arise, and to what extent does it restrict your rights?
  • How to collect evidence of violation?
  • Is your patent stable?
  • If there is a risk of partially invalidating your patent, will a competitor infringe your patent if its scope of protection is reduced?
  • Does your competitor have patents, and how might that change your position on the claim?
  • Is it possible to resolve the claim amicably, and if so, what conditions will be most beneficial for your business, what are the minimum acceptable ones?
  • If a patent claim was made against you, you should answer the same questions but in the following way:
  • Evaluate the relationship between your product (method) and the features of an independent claim or utility model under a competitor's patent.
  • Assess the sustainability of a competitor's patent.
  • Assess the patentability of your technical solutions, the time of your entry into the market, the start of preparations for such an exit, etc.

The answers to these and many other questions make up the preparatory work on a patent claim before sending a letter, claim, or response to a received claim.

At the same time, experienced patent lawyers can fairly accurately assess the prospects of a patent claim already at the first acquaintance with the documents and personal communication with the client to understand whether this preparatory work needs to be carried out or whether a patent claim has no judicial prospects. So you can start from this step as well.

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