Where a product or process is patented, the patent owner may mark it or associated materials with the patent number(s) but this is generally not a requirement and so not always the case.
It is possible to try and locate existing relevant patent and patent applications through patent searching. This process may involve looking for patents owned by particular parties and/or covering particular technologies, and having effect in the territories of interest.
Even where you are not aware of a specific existing product or process that might be protected but intend launching a new product or process, you may wish to check for existing patents in order to determine if you are free to do so.
Patent searching can be complex and, in many cases, will not be exhaustive. As such, it is sensible to seek professional advice when attempting to determine if you are free to produce and sell or use a particular product or technology. An appropriate search strategy can then be developed. This will often involve balancing the cost of searching against the level of certainty a business requires.
Wilson Gunn can advise on all aspects of intellectual property protection. Please get in touch to speak to a member of our team about patent protection.