How to avoid design infringement
Product innovation is a very complex challenge - from coming up with new ideas for age old problems to ensuring you are actually able to manufacture these solutions and get them to market. Add to that the various legal complexities. How do you ensure that you are not infringing on one of the millions of designs and patents available in the world?
mēkā is not a law firm. Nothing we write about should be construed as legal advice. Please consult with a qualified lawyer within your jurisdiction if you need any help.
So why should you be concerned about infringement?
It has serious consequences - settlements can range from a percentage of revenue all the way to having to close the offending business. You don't want to be caught in a difficult situation. So it's always a good idea to think about possible infringements from the start.
Here is what we do at mēkā:
We do a thorough search about the problem and possible solutions. This allows a very wide overview of the possible approaches and some of the pitfalls.
We then consult with a patent attorney (we work with this firm all the time) and discuss the product with them. They will be able to help us with a Freedom to Operate search (if necessary)
We then do our own research again into the possible infringements and start planning our workarounds. A lawyer or experienced designer would be able to provide guidance on designing around existing patents in order to avoid costly litigation.
As a product innovation agency, we try our best to ensure that our work is original. This involves a lot of research, planning and design.
Some light reading:
mēkā is a product innovation agency dedicated to helping companies unlock new revenue streams by recognising and realising opportunities for innovation.