I started manufacturing some multilayer golf balls for sale and I discovered that there is a chance that the construction is protected under invention?

According to what I found in Google Patents, it seems there is a patent for the way of making multilayer golf balls. But how can I know if the patent Google shows me is valid?



The strangest thing is that a few of those big companies have a patent on the same thing:




First off, you need to understand the difference between an application and a patent. Applications typically have the publication year as the first four numbers. Like "US2003..." or "WO2014...". Google and other patent search engines usually indicate the publication type. You also may see "Also published as" which might provide links to the associated granted patent and corresponding patents in other countries. Applications may or may not eventually get granted as patents. If they do, the claims often are amended so if you are worried about patent infringement you should try hard to look for the granted patents associated with applications.

As for golf balls, I'm sure there are quite a few patents around for you to consider before determining whether your ball is infringing on a patent. The most important thing to remember is the claims define what is covered. It is common to see patents that seemingly describe the same product. The claims, however may only protect a very specific idea, possibly only a refinement of a previously patented invention. Additionally, multilayer golf balls have been around for quite a while, so it is possible the earliest patents on them have expired. Lastly, you don't mention where you reside, but patents are tied to specific jurisdictions. US patents, for instance, only provide protection for goods manufactured, sold, offered for sale, imported or used in the US.

You can try to track down all the relevant patents to review. For each patent you find, there will be other cited patents and applications which give you other documents to read. Ultimately if you really want to know whether you have freedom-to-operate, it is best to consult with a patent attorney who can commission a professional search and provide a legal opinion.

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