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Can attending a trade show help you spot patent infringement?

For inventors and companies investing in new technology, patents are a crucial form of protection. Once you have a patent on a certain part or process, you either have the right to exclusively use your creation or to license it to other companies. They pay you a fee for the right to use your patented concept or product at their own facility.

Sometimes, companies with patents have a hard time enforcing their intellectual property rights because they don’t spot patent infringement in a timely manner. With fall rapidly approaching, an opportunity may soon present itself to check your competition for signs of patent infringement. Autumn is trade show season, which means you will have an opportunity to look at exactly what your competitors have to offer.

Trade shows can give you an inside look at products and facilities

The companies with booths at trade shows are there to network with other businesses and individual consumers. Their goal is to expand their operations and make sales. To get people and businesses on board with what their brand offers, they will likely present prototypes of their products or even show videos of the manufacturing process used in their facilities.

Looking at their prototypes or presentations and gathering whatever takeaway materials they provide can give you information that could help you catch signs of patent infringement by direct competitors. From looking at how their version of your product operates to the systems utilized in their production facility, you can scrutinize their operations for signs that they have used your original concept, product or process without permission from you.

Trade shows can also be a risk for those without a patent

If you don’t yet have a patent or one pending, you could over-share at a trade show. While you may want to get out there and network as much as possible when developing a new product for mass release, showing others your idea before you have a patent could be a significant mistake.

Just like you could use trade shows as a means to investigate other businesses for patent infringement, it is possible for those with less positive intentions to use trade shows as a means to steal ideas from others. Identifying the risks and benefits trade shows present for patent holders, inventors and successful companies can help protect your business and intellectual property more effectively.


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