What if someone changes my invention? Am I Protected?
A patent when drafted by an experienced patent attorney should protect the core “concept” or “idea” behind your invention. Generally, this core “concept” forms the basis for the patent claims which broadly define one or more features of your invention. The patent claims are located at the back of the patent specification and are one of the most important parts of the patent specification.
If another person “changes” your invention but still includes the claimed features of your invention, then it is likely that person will infringe your patent rights. This is why it is important to have a patent attorney draft your patent specification to ensure that your patent claims are both valid and define the core features of your invention.
A myth we sometimes come across is the so called 10% rule.
The 10% rule is sometimes cited in relation to copyright. However, copyright and patents are completely different. As stated above, with a patent, even if someone changes your invention by 10% but still includes all of the claimed features that person may still be found to infringe your patent rights.
We also sometimes have people assert that patents are too expensive to enforce. However, only a very small percentage of patents ever end up in patent litigation. In most cases, where there are clearly defined patents rights, a simple letter alerting the alleged infringer will be sufficient to resolve the matter. If this does not have the desired effect then there are options of offering licensing or some form of settlement. Also, most large companies have an ethics policy to respect the IP rights of others and in most cases the large company will actually negotiate with you. You may even be able to licence or sell you patent to the company.
If you would like to know more about patent rights, please contact us and a patent attorney will be in contact with you to provide you with further information.