The Intellectual Property (IP) industry plays an important role in protecting and fostering innovation. As technological advancements continue to evolve, companies must safeguard their intellectual assets through various means, including virtual patent marking (VPM). This is especially the case for UK companies with U.S. Patent rights covering marketed products. However, a recent statistical analysis reveals significant compliance challenges for these UK companies that demand immediate attention.
Recent research conducted by Terrifio, the IP/Legal software provider, reveals concerning statistics regarding the state of virtual patent marking, indicating that now is the time for the UK to pay attention and take action. Terrifio examined a sample of VPM webpages and found 32% were susceptible to non-compliance under 35 USC 287(a), the US law governing VPM, due to a lack of clear and unambiguous relationship between patents and the associated patented articles. Of the 32%, half fail to present each identified patent together with its associated patented articles, a critical requirement under US law . Furthermore, the average “date of last update” for the VPM webpages examined was approximately two years, raising the question of whether the underlying VPM program is being actively managed.
Among the over 350 VPM webpages reviewed, representative industries included software, IT, and computers at 55 VPM webpages, healthcare and medical equipment manufacturing at 47 VPM webpages, manufacturing/ automation/ industrial at 27 VPM webpages, followed by biotech research at 14 VPM webpages.
Terrifio has discovered that 82% of VPM webpages examined included posting the data directly on the company’s website, while the other 18% used PDF uploads to showcase their data. It was interesting to note that PDFs were used mostly for larger patent and product portfolios. This indicates that companies using PDFs might be cautious about relying on IT for webpage updates or they might simply want to avoid the extra administrative work required for direct coding.
Terrifio®, a legal technology innovator, built Markr™, that streamlines and expedites setup and ongoing administrative burden associated with maintaining virtual patent marking (VPM) compliance. Markr enables companies to efficiently manage their patent applications, issued patents, and products while quickly and effortlessly controlling the information displayed on their VPM webpage through intuitive filters and notifications. By simplifying critical workflows, Markr empowers users to export VPM-compliant PDFs or instantly update their own VPM-compliant web page with a single click from the user-friendly Terrifio dashboard. Gone are the days of relying on IT teams to implement webpage updates, as Markr eliminates numerous administrative steps and associated risks of doing so.
With Markr, users benefit from a comprehensive audit trail that records each export action, providing a history of established constructive notice. This valuable resource not only enhances patent valuations during potential sales but also strengthens leverage and potential damages payouts in cases of infringement.
“With the launch of Markr, we aim to address the pressing need for compliant virtual patent marking practices in the UK market and beyond,” says Jim Gastle, co-founder of Terrifio Markr. “The startling statistics we reveal here from our study indicates a significant gap in VPM compliance. Companies without a proper VPM program may be unneccessarily limiting their potential damages and settlement leverage. Markr provides a seamless solution to establish and maintain credible VPM Notice protocols, ensuring clear and up-to-date constructive notice for potential infringers.”
Grant Peters, partner, Barnes & Thornburg LLP indicates that “A VPM program is like insurance. You don’t know when you’ll need it; and once you need to use it you cannot get it. An online platform, like Markr, helps patent owners plan and provide for the future when constructive notice is needed to maximize the benefits associated with patent rights.”
For more information about Markr and to start using the tool, please visit https://www.terrifio.com/.