Protecting Your Technology From Patent Infringement

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Plastics News, a leading publication for the injection molding industry, recently published an article about a case of American patent, copyright and trademark theft by a Chinese company. The patent, copyright and trademark in question are held by Beaumont Technologies, a global plastics engineering leader.

Based in Erie, Pa., Beaumont Technologies is working the Department of Homeland Security as the case evolves. John Beaumont, the company’s president and CEO, and John Blundy, Beaumont’s vice president of business development, met with Homeland Security officials in Washington, D.C., on Monday, Sept. 15. Michael Taylor, director of International Affairs and Trade at the Society of the Plastics Industry, Inc., is assisting with the case and also attended the meeting. More information will be provided as the case develops.

The following Q & A provides a brief overview of patent infringement and how it may impact your company.

How does patent law apply to Importing molds or product from China: If a mold is produced in China that includes a technology patented in the United States (e.g. MeltFlipper®), or if a product is produced in China in a mold that includes technology patented in the U.S., then the mold or product is considered to be infringing the patent once it enters the United States. U.S. Customs inspectors identifying an infringing mold or product at the border will seize the mold or product and prevent entry into the United States.

What happens if a U.S. company unwittingly imports infringing molds or product from China: U.S. Customs inspectors identifying an infringing mold or product at the boarder will seize the mold or product and prevent entry to the United States regardless as to whether the receiving party was unaware that the mold or product was infringing.

What is the definition of patent infringement? Patent infringement is the act of making, using, selling or offering to sell a patented invention, or importing into the United States a product covered by a claim of a patent without the permission of the patent owner. Further, you may be considered to infringe a patent if you import items into the United States that are made by a patented method.¹

What are the penalties for patent infringement? “A court may decide to award treble damages to a patentee, especially in cases of willful infringement. This refers to a financial award worth three times the amount of the actual financial losses suffered. This may seem harsh, but the government imposes stiff penalties to discourage individuals or companies from using someone else’s ideas in the first place.²”

What should you do if you become aware of stolen technology, i.e. patient infringement? Contact the United States Patent and Trademark Office immediately.¹

“United States Patent and Trademark Office.” United States Patent and Trademark Office. Web. 11 Sept. 2014. ¹
Harris, William. “How Patent Infringement Works.” HowStuffWorks. Web. 11 Sept. 2014.²

About Beaumont Technologies. Headquartered in Erie, Pa., Beaumont Technologies is the pioneer and world leader of in-mold rheological control technologies for plastics injection molding. The inventor of MeltFlipper® and other technologies, Beaumont provides a broad range of plastics engineering services, including design consultancy, molding simulation and industry education.