What can I do to get money after my product is being used? 4 Answers as of March 30, 2011I hired a patent attorney in New York (per referral from US patent agency) for my idea. I live in Mi and when the attorney told me it was patent pending and I could go to manufactures to sell idea (it was safe). Within the year I had a patent and it went on store shelves by manufacturers (I had talked with) and I received nothing. When I called the attorney to ask what to do-responses were: he was too busy, terrorists were attacking, and about 5-6yrs ago, didn't realize I was unhappy. My product is in alot of stores and I paid alot of money to the attorney to secure my invention. I contacted several Lawyers and none of them would get involved. I want my money back minimum! It just stresses me out seeing my product being sold and getting nothing from it all these years. Any advice or direction would be appreciated.
DANIEL NESBITT | Hasse & Nesbitt
You can hire a patent attorney to give you an infringement and validity opinion that the manufactured product is infringing your patent claims. If there is an infringement, and your patent is valid and enforceable, then you have the right to hire an attorney and bring an infringement lawsuit, or negotiate a license or assignment of the patent rights with the manufacturer.
Answer Applies to: Ohio
Malhotra Law Firm, PLLC | Deepak Malhotra
Obtaining a patent does not mean that you automatically receive money. The government will not enforce your patent for you. You have to sue to enforce your patent. The average fee for a patent trial costs about 1.5 million dollars. That may be why you are having trouble getting attorneys to be interested. If you read the independent claims of your patent (e.g., claim 1 and the other claims that do not refer to previous numbered claims), do the competitors' products have ALL the limitations of any of the independent claims? If so, you may have a case for infringement. If there are items in the independent claims that are not in the competitor's products, you may not have clear infringement. Some attorneys will consider taking patent infringement cases on contingency in a limited number of circumstances. Ideally, 1) there should be clear infringement; 2) the patent should be well drafted without unduly limiting language (e.g., the title, summary, and abstract should not be narrower than the claims); 3) damages (lost profits) should be enough (e.g. 20 million or more, some firms will say 100 million or more) to justify the expense of a trial and a risk of losing; 4) a relatively clean file history (not too much arguing between the applicant and the examiner; and 5) there ideally should be multiple patents with different claims. It is particularly helpful if there is a continuation application that is alive and that can be molded (if the disclosure supports that) to the infringing products. If these conditions are met, you should contact me and I may be able to help you. My info is at www.patentsusa.com . If the infringement has gone on for many years without you taking action, the competitors may have a defense of "latches" or "estoppel." If you have trademarks and they are using your product name, trademark cases are less expensive to enforce. If the product looks exactly the same, there may be a copyright case.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Young Basile | Denise Glassmeyer
Since you live in Michigan, you can contact the State Bar of Michigan Lawyer Referral Service (http://www.michbar.org/programs/lawyerreferral.cfm ) to find names of competent attorneys in you location who can evaluation your case and provide you with advice in this matter. There are a great many good patent attorneys practicing in Michigan. The State Bar can provide you with names and contact information. Once you have located an attorney who can represent you, the attorney you retain can evaluate the specific facts in your case. Please follow up with additional questions. Good Luck!
Answer Applies to: Michigan