A new virtual patent marketing tool, MarkrTM, for patent owners, in house counsel, as well as a potential practice expansion opportunity for patent attorney firms, has been launched by the team who developed Terrifio, the client viability tool for IP attorneys and law firms.
Virtual patent marking (“VPM”) first became available in the US in 20111 and in October 2014 in the UK2 but has not been widely adopted. The convenience and ease of use of the Markr online tool overcomes issues preventing VPM adoption. Markr delivers VPM to a much wider user base to include patent owners so that they can take advantage of the benefits of Markr to establish constructive notice to help improve the chances of maximizing damages against infringers. Markr conveniently automates repetitive tasks required for proper VPM, maintains an audit trail, and increases public access to patent information.
Markr users build lists of their patents and pending applications and “link” each patent with associated product(s). Once complete, users download a fully populated VPM Notice page including caveats that is easily posted to a VPM url on their website. Users complete the VPM requirements by adding the VPM url to online product information and labels on the associated products. Regular updates are scheduled to the VPM Notice Page to reflect changes in their patent portfolio and associated products.
“This can be a valuable addition to any patent attorney’s offering” says Jim Gastle co-founder of Terrifio and Markr. “But we also expect that it will get picked up by insightful SMEs and high-tech businesses as an effective way to establish and maintain credible VPM Notice protocols. With a chance to participate in our soon-to-launch beta programme, it’s a great way to test the potential of virtual patent marking for a business without charge. Once an active VPM program foundation is established they have the security of knowing that potential infringers have constructive notice.”
Explaining the vision behind Markr, Gastle, who has 25 years’ experience as a Registered Patent Agent in Canada working closely with U.S. patent attorneys, was surprised that while some of the top global proprietary product brands firms had a VPM page, the vast majority do not. “Those that do not have a VPM page are missing the opportunity to provide the earliest possible constructive notice of patent rights provided by the VPM regulations available in both the U.S and the UK.U.S. Patent litigation can take several years to get to trial and can drag on for years more in appeals. Such litigation is costly and disruptive for all businesses. I have seen through my clients what a devastating effect patent infringement actions can have, in terms of time and both financial and emotional burden. Without a VPM program, companies are eroding considerable value and leverage in damages tied to an earlier constructive notice date. These businesses are self-limiting of the potential damages from the date of sending an actual notice letter and not from when the patent was issued, potentially leading to huge loss in money damages. This can have a dramatic effect on settlement leverage, as well.”
Virtual patent marking offers many benefits over traditional patent marking, the most obvious benefit being saving considerable time and expense as the patent owner no longer needs to individually manage the minutia of placing specific patent information on products and packaging. Also the patent owner does not go to the expense of updating this as and when required. Instead, it can be simply updated via its VPM url on demand. Suitable for all patent-owning businesses, the highly competitive high-tech industry that comprises 65% of all patent litigation cases and 62% of all filings in the US 3 has the most to gain.
Markr can be used as a standalone platform or integrated with other tools in Terrifio’s growing suite of IP oriented SaaS software. Following the initial free beta period, the pricing for Markr will, in common with other SaaS offerings, be linked to various usage metrics.