Remedies - Injunctions
In the case of patent infringement, a court can award the patent owner injunctive relief as well as monetary compensation for his/her injuries. Injunctive relief prevents the infringer (or accused infringer) from making, using or selling the patented invention during the term of the patent.
There are two types of injunctions: Preliminary and Permanent.
A preliminary injunction is a temporary court order made in the early stages of a patent infringement lawsuit that stops the potential infringer from making or selling the allegedly infringing technology. A preliminary injunction is viewed as a more severe type of remedy because the defendant’s actions are prohibited prior to a determination of whether infringement has occurred or not. In determining whether to grant a preliminary injunction, the court must consider four factors:
- Likelihood that the patent holder will prove patent infringement. The likelihood of success has to be more probable than not.
- Irreparable damage the patent holder will suffer if not granted the injunction. Mere injuries (money, time and energy) are not enough to prove irreparable harm. However, the greater the risk for damages, the greater likelihood of injury.
- Harm the injunction may cause to the other parties in the lawsuit. Courts want to ensure the injunction would not cause undue prejudice against the other persons involved in the lawsuit.
- Harm the injunction may cause to the public interest. Courts believe that public purpose takes precedent to private interests, and must consider how to best serve the public. The greater the risk to harm to the public, the more likely the court will allow an injunction.
A permanent injunction is a final court order that requires an infringer to permanently stop making, using or selling the infringing products or services. In order to grant a permanent injunction, a court generally must be convinced that:
- The plaintiff has suffered an irreparable injury.
- Legal remedies (such as monetary damages) would not adequately compensate for the irreparable injury.
- The plaintiff is faced with a much greater hardship than the infringer.
- Public interests would not be harmed by a permanent injunction.