Congratulations! Your product is now patented. You invested the money in a patent search, and then applying for a patent. The wait is over and the thick envelope is in your hand. Before you go to frame it, before you post on social media, there is one more thing you need to do. You need to remember why you got this patent in the first place. That was to protect your product from others copying it.
Whether you are a metal fabricator, a plastics fabricator, consumer product manufacturer, a pharmaceutical manufacturer, you need to mark your product. The sooner you mark your product, the sooner you can put the world on notice that you patented this. The sooner you put the world on notice, the sooner you can claim knowledge of infringement, and the more damages you can collect.
Specifically, you have to do one of two things. You have to mark your product with your patent number. All U.S. patents are uniquely identified by a number. Utility patents have a 7 or 8-digit number at the top right corner. Design patents have a capital D followed by a 6-digit number. You must write on your product, or the product packaging: “U.S. Patent x,xxx,xxx” or “Pat. x,xxx,xxx.” The word “pat” or “patent” MUST be there. Here are some examples from products you have seen, and perhaps not seen, in everyday life:
With the new America Invents Act, it is also possible to virtually mark your product. Some products have no package, are too small, or too large to directly mark. Products and packaging change. New patents issue. It becomes expensive and cumbersome to retool and re-design with the patent number every time. Instead of marking each and every new product or package with its patent number(s), you create a page on your website listing your products and their patent numbers. When products, packaging or patent information changes, you simply update the page. You still have to mark the product or packaging in some way, but instead of listing the patent number, you write “Protected by U.S. Patent, please visit www.ourwidgetsaretheverybest.com/patents to learn more” The exact language varies, but again, you must have the word “pat” or “patent” plus the website. Here are just a couple of examples of websites that list products covered by patents.
If you need help deciding whether and how to mark your products, call or email me today.