Given the growing prominence of patent-litigation-related stories in the media, it is not surprising one of the first questions new or prospective clients ask is some variation of “How can I tell if my new product infringes someone else’s patent? ”
Unfortunately, the reality is that asking whether you infringe a patent is the wrong question. You are almost certainly doing something that a patent owner can merely accuse of patent infringement, and that accusation alone will force you to spend money you do not want to spend. This is a non-negligible risk for anyone doing business in this country today. Instead, businesses should be asking their patent counsel how to reduce the chances of being accused of infringement in the first place.
Originally published in Oregon Business - February 2014.
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