Risks and concerns using a third-party virtual marking
As of late, a handful of services have popped up on the Internet that offer inexpensive services to enable corporations to launch a virtual marking registry. These services require the client to use a third-party marking (the services marking rather than the patent owner’s). For example, the third party marking might be “www.patentmarkingwarehouse.com/yourname/” rather than a proper first-party marking such as patent.yourwebsite.com or www.yourwebsite.com/patent/
There are several risks and issues in using a third-party marking service for implementing virtual patent marking, including:
- Brand Confusion. Applying a third-party web address (URL) on your products, packaging and marketing materials will create confusion with your consumer. Consumers who visit a web site will be confused why this URL is on your article.
- Effective Constructive Notice. Many third-party services do not offer intuitive, straightforward methods for browsing or searching for product-patent data, nor straightforward viewing. The intent of the America Invents Act was to provide a concise, simple method for consumers to find patent data for a product. You do not want to risk using a service that obfuscates the patent data.
- Service Discontinues. Your effort to provide constructive notice is critical to be running long-term. If a third-party marking service is bought by another party or if that company vanishes, you will have put their marking on your products, packaging and materials without any control over the existence of their service.
Ultimately, you want to select a service that allows you to use your own virtual marking, that is under your control and brand, and publish that to your corporate web site and not any third party site.