Patent Infringement Opinion

Patent Infringement Opinion

An infringement opinion is performed for an entirely different purpose: That is, to determine whether the invention will infringe a currently valid patent. While an infringement opinion may be rendered for a product to be made, used, offered for sale, sold, or imported into the United States, it may also be made based on patents of a particular foreign country.

However for the sake of determining whether an invention would result in infringement under United States laws, only United States patents must be reviewed. As a cautionary measure, published patent applications may also be reviewed, as these may later result in patents that could be infringed.

An infringement opinion maybe related to reviewing an invention versus a particular patent that is known to exist.

This will typically occur when someone is threatened by a competitor who is asserting that they have a patent on the invention, or where an inventor wishes to know whether the practice of their invention would infringe upon specific known patent or patents.

Alternately, a broad infringement opinion often called a “clearance opinion” may be rendered in which a general search is made to locate all patents related to the subject invention and then the subject invention is subsequently compared to the claims of those patents found.

Product Clearance Opinion

A particular type of opinion is rendered to determine non-infringement of patents related to a particular new product that may be under consideration for introduction to the marketplace. Such opinions are typically quite costly (but far less costly than payment of damages for infringement) are usually undertaken only by well-established companies. The company will usually know its main competitors and will often be very aware of new patents and publications issued to those competitors.

Accordingly, the product clearance opinion may be restricted to such a group of patents. Ultimately, a broad search may be made to determine any apparently valid patents or publications that could potentially lead to infringement actions against the company.

Field Search

Occasionally, an inventor wishes to know generally the scope of patents related to his invention. An inventor may wish to identify deficiencies in the current patent literature, identifying opportunities for an improvement. In such case, a general field search may be made to merely obtaining related patents without an associated opinion.

Such searches are useful to the inventor in the formative stages to guide the inventive process. Accordingly, the inventor may order a general field search to identify a variety of patents related to the subject invention as explained on

Foreign Searches

In order to locate references such as patents and published patent applications as part of a foreign search, it is typically necessary to utilize the services of foreign search firms who are familiar with the procedures of their particular countries.