The company that stands still is the one that gets left behind
Leaving the European Union is almost upon us, with the deadline fixed for 29th March 2019. In these tumultuous times, opportunity favours the brave, those who look to restructure their operations now will be in position to reap the rewards in the future. For this reason, many UK companies will already be considering changing or extending their exports to other countries, such as the US and China. Other changes may also be necessary such as alternative import suppliers or movement of manufacturing facilities.
Make sure you look before you leap!
Although you may have been manufacturing and selling in the EU with no patent infringement (freedom to operate – FTO) problems, moving outside of the EU is a big step into the unknown. You will need to consider whether your way is clear in these new countries, otherwise you may risk infringement action being taken against you.
The advantages of infringement searching
Specialist infringement searches can help to see if the way is clear for you in the new countries in which you wish to manufacture in, import from or export to. They involve searching commercial patent databases to try to find any patents that may be blocking you.
It’s not all lost if a blocking patent is found
Even if a patent is found that appears to block your way for a certain country, it may be that the patent is not valid i.e. shouldn’t have been granted in the first place. This can be tested with patent invalidity searches and/or with evidence supplied from other areas e.g. you may have evidence that you were already selling the product before the patent was filed.
Remember to consult a patent attorney
As with all patent related matters its always wise to consult with a CIPA registered patent attorney to help guide you through the patent infringement process. They are experts at determining whether patent search results mean you are clear to operate, or being blocked by particular patents, and if so whether it’s worth trying to break them.
What to do next
So, if you are thinking of changing your manufacturing locations, imports or exports then speak to your Patent Attorney to get advice on patent infringement searching. Don’t have an attorney, follow the link to our Directory of Patent Attorney firms in your area, or contact Patent Seekers Ltd for further information.
Written by Dean Parry MSC – Technical Director at Patent Seekers Ltd
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