Why use a landing page format on a virtual marking registry?
The most popular format of virtual marking registries has been from companies with small product portfolios that are listing patent-to-product relationships on a single page. These landing page registries typically list products by brand or model name followed by an individual listing of related patents.
In the listing format, patentees frequently use a shortcut. They group the product portfolio either by brand name or as a family of similar products. This is not recommended. (Should every brand have its own registry? Learn more.)
Why? There is a risk in grouping products into buckets vs. specifying patent-to-product relationships for each unique product that proper notice has not been given. The phrase “One or more of the following patents may apply …” lacks the specificity that future courts are likely to expect. Avoid vagueness in your registry whenever possible.
Software company Symantec is using the landing page list format for its various software products. The company uses this language at the top of the page “The following list of Symantec products may not be all inclusive, and other Symantec products not listed here may be protected by one or more patents.” Note that the lack of individual product numbers, software version numbers or any other unique identifiers for each “group family” of products may not meet future case law expectations.
To improve this example, Symantec should consider listing individual UPC numbers (bar codes), product names or other specific identifies for each product as a subset of the grouping. The more specificity of individual products, the more likely the registry will meet future standards of notice.
The directory landing page alternative
A variation to the landing page list format of a virtual marking registry is offering a directory of products where the initial registry “homepage” lists the product name as a link to a second “inside” page, which lists related patents to that product.
Executed properly, the directory approach enables patentees with larger product portfolios to make finding a specific product easier than the landing page list format.