Virtual Patent Marking

Virtual Marking

The Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (AIA), signed into law on September 16, 2011, was designed to establish a more efficient and streamlined patent system to improve patent quality and limit unnecessary litigation costs. The AIA made many changes to United States patent law, including a Virtual Patent Marking amendment to 35 U.S.C. § 287(a), the so-called “marking” statute.

The purpose of marking an article is to provide constructive notice to the public that the article is patented. Failure to appropriately mark an article can preclude the recovery of damages for infringement until effective notice is given. In the AIA, Congress intended to modernize and update the statute.The Virtual Patent Marking amendment to § 287(a) introduced in the AIA provides patentees with the option of using virtual marking i.e., affixing onto the article or its packaging the word “patent” or the abbreviation “pat.” followed by an address of a posting on the Internet that associates the patented article with the number of the patent, as an alternative to physical marking.

Registered trademark Pat.®and form a "virtual patent mark" in accordance with the patent virtual marking statute 35 U.S.C. 287. If (1) a U.S. patent number is associated with a patented article, (2) the patented article is marked with "PAT." followed by "", (3) the associated patent is registered on the website, and (4) is available for public view without charge, the patented article complies with statute 35 U.S.C 287. Compliance with the statute provides legal notice that the article is patented. See for more information.


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