Q: Does a US method patent protect the domestic sale of foreign-made-goods constructed via the US-patented method?
I think I have a novel method of manufacturing a category of widgets. The method will make manufacture cheaper and faster for a subset of these widgets (but not all). My target audience for these widgets is within the US. Each individual widget could receive its own utility patent, but it isn't economically viable. I doubt a single utility patent could be made to protect the whole subset of widgets while still being novel to prior art. All widgets that I plan to make would be made with the novel method. The manufacture method will necessarily leave telltales, so "trade secret" isn't a viable option.
Assume: I am granted a method patent, a foreign single-entity performs all the steps of my method to produce a widget outside of the US, the entity (or middleman) offers the widget(s) for sale in the US.
Does my US method patent provide me any protection from the competition described above?
Dear Mrs or Mr,
in your described case, I would say that as the patent is the territorial right that you would be protected in the territory of the U.S. However I am an IP lawyer in EU, so I am taking into account the principles of IP law and my legal knowledge. So in order to be sure about your pertinent case I advice you to contact patent attorney in the U.S.
Depending on the method/invention itself, a utility patent could be drafted in such a way to cover the variations on the method. What you're getting at though, is called a "product-by-process" claim, which generally would accompany pure method claims in an application. If a product-by-process claim is granted, that should help with the hypothetical import question. Feel free to give me a ring!
I am a registered U.S. patent attorney, however, absent a mutually-agreed, written engagement agreement between you and my firm, I am not *your* attorney, and neither the contents of this message nor receipt thereof may be construed in any way as legal advice nor to form any attorney-client relationship.
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