U.S. patent law
Patent infringement is the
|“||unauthorized making, using, offering to sell, selling or importing into the United States any patented invention.||”|
Although there is no statute of limitations in patent infringement actions, the Patent Act specifies a time limit on monetary relief for patent infringement claims: damages are available only for infringement that occurs within the six years prior to the filing of the complaint or counterclaim for patent infringement. However, the equitable doctrine of laches may be raised as an affirmative defense to a claim for patent infringement if the patent holder’s delay in bringing suit is unreasonable and inexcusable, and the alleged infringer suffers material prejudice attributable to the delay.
- 35 U.S.C. §271(a).
- Id. §286.
- See A.C. Aukerman Co. v. R.L. Chaides Constr. Co., 960 F.2d 1020, 1028, 22 U.S.P.Q.2d (BNA) 1321 (Fed. Cir. 1992) (full-text) (“A presumption of laches arises where a patentee delays bringing suit for more than six years after the date the patentee knew or should have known of the alleged infringer’s activity.”).