Let's say I am building on a high-tech, novel product but that combines several techniques, components and/or innovations that I suspect may be patented (though those may have expired).
I would like to do an FTO search to see if I'm in the clear but my guess would be that "probably not" and "there's at least several dozen patents covering the components/techniques". If there's a handful I'd like to license them, but if there are dozens or hundreds, it is unmanageable.
I had read that if you are aware of the patents you're infringing, the charges are tripled if you're taken to court.
a. Does your performing a FTO search prove that you were aware of the other patents and willfully infringed them, hence justifying higher costs?
b. What if I file my own patent for the novel product, while citing the patents that I infringed, then building the product. Does that constitute willful infringement?