Intellectual Property Forums (

(Message started by: crackeur on Jul 1st, 2007, 9:21pm)

Title: patent law suit
Post by crackeur on Jul 1st, 2007, 9:21pm
Some one is having products that the pending patent coves. When can the patent holder sue? After patent grant..
what is doctrine of laches? how many years do I have to sue?

Title: Re: patent law suit
Post by JimIvey on Jul 1st, 2007, 10:06pm
You have no right to exclude others until your patent issues.  However, if the published claims are substantially the same as the issued claims, you can get damages (compensation) for infringement after publication and before issuance if the infringer is put on actual notice.  Actual notice means they have to know about your published application.  Someone (most likely you) will have to send them a copy of your published application and a note putting them on actual notice.  I've never done one of those letters, so I'm not sure exactly what's required to put someone on actual notice.

Laches is 6 years, I believe.  But I don't believe it works like normal laches where you can't sue at all if you don't sue by a particular time.  I think you can always sue but are limited to damages for infringing activity in the most recent 6 years.


Title: Re: patent law suit
Post by JSonnabend on Jul 2nd, 2007, 9:31am
Jim, you're confusing the six year limitation on damages under 35 U.S.C. 286 with laches, which is an equitable doctrine.  Laches can operate to deprive a claimant of all relief, based on the principals of equity, while the six year limitation on damages is just that, and it's set statutorily.

- Jeff

Title: Re: patent law suit
Post by JimIvey on Jul 2nd, 2007, 3:25pm
Yeah, you're right.  I thought of that after I clicked "Post" but had already navigated away, forgeting into which forum that was posted.

Thanks for the correction.

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