How do I know if I”m I selling something that is infringing on a patent?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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How do I know if I”m I selling something that is infringing on a patent?

I sell puck holders that slide onto a watch band, however I purchase these from a supplier and add paint/glitter to them. So I do not make the puck holders, just add paint. Someone has a patent for puck holders but the design is different than the ones I’m painting, and I pay to purchase mine and only make money off of what I paint onto it. They have sent a DMCA takedown notice to my web hos, but haven’t sent me any cease and desist letters. Can they sue me for continuing to sell these?

Asked on September 19, 2018 under Business Law, Missouri


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Compare the specifications in their patent against puck holders you sell. If the ones you sell would be covered by the specifications (called "claims") in the patent, they are infringing; if they infringe, you can forced to stop selling them (to stop infringing) and could be sued if you don't stop. 
On the other hand, if the holder you sell does not fall under or is not covered by the patent's specifications, there is no infringement and you can sell them. (Though they may still try to sue you, forcing you to respond to a lawsuit, if they disagree and believe the holders are covered by their patent.) 
Intrepreting patents can be technical: you may wish to hire a patent lawyer to help you, though be warned--such lawyers can be very expensive.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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