I have developed a new device used in automobiles and applied for a patent (as personal, not from a company). After producing commercially and releasing into the market, what may I do if someone copies my design with some small changes, and produces and sells the device in the market?

  • If he uses all your ideas as defined in the independent claim, you may sue him.
    – Moti
    Aug 13 '15 at 2:24
  • 1
    If your patent has not been issued, you cannot sue anyone for infringing any part of it. You may warn them of your patent pending, assuming it's pending in their country, but that's about it. Other non-patent laws may apply to use of your trademarks or trade dress, among other things.
    – Upnorth
    Aug 20 '17 at 5:30
  • The only protection against small changes is a well drafted patent.
    – DonQuiKong
    Aug 20 '17 at 8:28

What is protected is defined by your patent's claims. If someone implements every step of even one of your claims, you have grounds to sue. It is up to you to defend your patent through law suits (or the threat of a suit). This can be very expensive if the infringing company is large and well funded. Some law firms may represent you on a contingency basis.

  • Your patent claims are enforceable to the extent they are valid and were issued in a country where someone else is making, using, selling or importing the claimed invention or equivalents. The first standard defense, if you sue them, is that your patent is not valid for some reason.
    – Upnorth
    Sep 21 '17 at 19:19
  • Emphasis on "litigation is expensive" and "contingency". If you don't have the funds to pursue on your own, contingency basis for representation may be your only option. But no attorney is going to work on contingency unless the infringer has real assets to go after. By contrast, if the infringer doesn't have assets, you might be able to out litigate them. Threat of a law suit is usually the place to start.
    – DukeZhou
    May 8 '18 at 18:56

check if those changes are falling within the scope of your claims. Suing is one option if your claim cover modified product (if not literally under doctrine of equivalence) but through understanding of costs involved is required.


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