How to choose the proper virtual patent marking solution for your company
The America Invents Act has provided limited guidance to patent holders for what the exact format of a virtual marking should be. U.S. §287 has been amended to allow marking with “patent” or “pat.” and “an address of a posting on the Internet, accessible to the public without charge for accessing the address, that associates the patented article with the number of the patent.”
So what is the best marking for you corporation? At this time, neither case law nor USPTO guidelines have provided clarity to the best method for interpreting this rule to select a virtual marking.
The most obvious options for your virtual mark url, in order of obvious clear choice are:
At PatentStatus, we advise all our clients that the best marking choice is “patent.yourcompanydomain.com.”This ensures that it ties strongly into your existing brand equity and it also makes it clear that patent information is available on your corporate web site.
(For organizations where space is a major consideration on your labels, etchings, molds, etc. a shortened URL marking may make sense, but only in rare circumstances. )
Alternatively, there is some discussion within the IP community that the USPTO will permit the option of the corporation to registry and use a unique URL specifically for patent info, such as:
Of least likeliness for a corporation is to select an unbranded virtual marking (whether your own or via a third-party service) where the word “Patent” or “Pat.” is next to an independently branded URL such as:
- Patent: www.randomdomain.com (or any other URL)
- Pat: www.randomdomain.com (or any other URL)
From a marketing and brand-ownership perspective it is not advisable to consider using a marking that is under control of a third-party. If these third-party organizations dissolve or fail to maintain guideline compliance, you could be negatively impacted. If you select a third-party service to host your patent marking database, make sure that you can use your own marking (with a domain you control).
No matter which virtual marking you select, you want to be sure that have absolute control of the marking you select to protect your interests and ensure proper use into perpetuity. This will prove critical over time as rules and case law evolve for you to ensure that you have control to make changes to protect your best interest.