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Webmarking Patents: Best Practices For UK Patent Owners

by Terrifio Team | November 17, 2023

Webmarking Patents: Best Practices For UK Patent Owners

Getting a UK comes with the responsibility, should you choose, of effectively marking your patented products. This guide not only covers the essential guidelines but also delves into additional insights to help you navigate the webmarking landscape more efficiently.
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To bolster your position in an infringement case, it’s vital to mark your product with “patent” or “patented” along with the patent number. This prevents infringers from claiming ignorance about the patent’s existence. Damages are not payable if the infringer can prove they were unaware of the patent and had no reasonable grounds to suppose its existence during the infringement.

Webmarking Your UK Patents

Since October 1, 2014, UK patent holders have been able to benefit from webmarking by marking their patented product with a web address. The key is to ensure that the destination of the web address (a webpage on the company website) clearly links the product to its corresponding patent number(s), reducing burdens and costs for patent owners while facilitating public access to up-to-date patent information.

Patent Marking Options Available

Patent owners still have the option to physically mark their products with relevant patent numbers, however, this comes with increased costs to maintain when changes to product packaging or molds need to be altered to include changes in patent coverage. Alternatively, they can choose not to mark their products at all, but this reduces the likelihood of successfully claiming damages from infringers.With this in mind, webmarking remains a popular option.

Key Guidelines for UK Webmarking

Clear and Accessible Information:

  • Ensure the webpage provides clear and accessible information about which patents apply to the product.
  • Increased transparency enhances the likelihood of successful outcomes in infringement proceedings.

Directing to Relevant Webpage:

  • The web address on the product must lead to a webpage that distinctly associates the product with the relevant patent number(s).
  • Clearly identify the product, including relevant model numbers and variants.

Regular Updates:

  • Keep the webpage up-to-date, reflecting any recent changes to patent details for each product.
  • Regular updates prevent infringers from claiming ignorance due to outdated information.

QR Code Considerations:

  • While a QR code alone may not provide sufficient notice of patent rights, patent owners may include it along with patent numbers or a web address.

Additional Insights on Webmarking in the UK

Global Considerations:

  • If your products are intended for international markets, consider compliance with global webmarking standards, in the US for example where it is called virtual patent marking, to protect your intellectual property on a broader scale.

Patent Pending Webmarking:

  • If your patent is pending, consider using “patent pending” along with the application number to notify the public and potential infringers about the pending status.

In case of a dispute, the courts will determine whether sufficient notice was provided. Ensuring compliance with these guidelines, along with considering global and pending patent aspects, strengthens your position and increases the chances of a favorable outcome.

By ensuring that you follow these guidelines in whatever stage of implementing or maintaining a UK webmarking strategy you are in, UK patent owners can effectively protect their intellectual property, not only in the domestic market but also on the global stage.

This article should not be construed as legal advice or legal opinion on any specific facts or circumstances. This article reflects only the personal views of the authors and not the views of the authors’ firms. Consult your patent professional regarding your specific questions.