It can be scary to get a patent infringement notice, but first of all, don’t panic.  Here are some steps you can take if someone claims that you are infringing upon their patent.

First, check that the patent is current and that the person who wrote you the letter is the owner or assignee of the patent.  You can often figure that out by looking up the patent on the US Patent and Trademark Office.  Google ‘public pair’ to get to the search engine.

Second, do a quick check of the limitations of each claim asserted to see if there are any required limitations that aren’t clearly found in your product.  This can help to determine how serious the infringement claim is.

Third, think about whether there is a way to ‘design around’ the asserted infringement.  This can often be a good way out of an infringement case.

Fourth, get a good attorney who can help you figure out your strategy.  Defending against a patent infringement case can be risky and expensive, so it’s important for you to understand all of your options before moving forward.

- Claire Kalia

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