Marking benefits

Mark my words; mark it virtually!

Traditionally, patentees physically mark their products (including those made or sold by licensees) with a patent number to notify others that a particular product, and/or a feature thereof, is protected by that patent. In the case the patent is not yet granted/issued, “patent pending” might be used for accuracy, together with a long application/publication number to establish provisional protection.

However, are you aware that the legal practice in many countries, including the UK, Australia and more recently the US, endorses virtual marking

Products can simply be marked “patent” together with a link (or scanable code) to a freely accessible public internet address, which is populated with information associating the patented product with a relevant patent number. 

Virtual marking facilitates good IP management; for at least the following reasons we encourage our clients to benefit from this practice:

  • Re-marking, or changes to marking process during manufacture, is avoided.
  • No need for physical space on the product to display long (sometimes multiple) numbers.
  • Allows patent information to be easily managed centrally, online.
  • Each member of a patent family relevant to the product can be clearly indicated.
  • Allows any change in status, such as publication, grant or expiry to be updated quickly (and be specific to the family member) to ensure accuracy at a given point in time.
  • Helps avoids unintentional false marking by patentee (penalty may result).
  • 3rd parties are put on notice automatically, so infringement remedies (damages, etc.) may be calculated from the earliest possible date.
  • 3rd parties are put on notice passively so direct communication is initially avoided (obviates risk of provoking counter-threat actions).

About the author

Stratagem IPM Ltd (Head Office)

Meridian Court
Comberton Road
Toft,
Cambridge CB23 2RY

Tel. 01223 550740
Email. mail@stratagemipm.co.uk

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