Patent conflicts arise when someone other than the owner of a patent infringes the patent.  Infringement occurs when someone copies or reproduces the patented idea without the permission of the owner.  

Patent infringement can be willful (the infringing company intentionally tries to make money off a product that infringes on the issued patent) or unintentional (the infringing company does no research but just begins making and selling the infringing product).  Obviously, the damages awarded can be much more in a willful case but simply refusing to investigate can also result in significant damage awards.  And if the patent holder finds out that someone (inside counsel, for example) advised the infringer to check out whether a patent was out there, there may be no difference in the amount of the damages awarded.

Law Offices of Douglas Clark Hollmann

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