How do I know whether I am infringing third party patent rights?

When carrying out a commercial activity, it is important to determine whether or not third parties have exclusive rights which may be infringed by your activities.

Indeed, for instance if you are selling a patented product or process without authorization of the patent owner, you are committing an act of infringement.

All patent documents are published 18 months after their filing date. It is possible to look up whether there are patent documents covering your activities in public patent databases. Not being aware of third party patent rights is not a valid defense against an infringement action.

Determining whether or not you infringe a third party patent requires that you interpret the claims and determine whether the patent is still in force. Moreover, it may be that the patent is in fact not valid. Such an analysis is quite complex and it is advisable to obtain advice from a qualified European patent attorney. De Clercq & Partners can help you with any questions you may have relating to third party patent rights.

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