This website illustrates how Civil Engineers may make greater use of the Global Patent System to Promote Progress in their Field.
The American Founders included Patent Rights in the United States Constitution to Promote Progress.
Patent Infringement
U.S. Patenting
     The crux of American patent law arguably rests on the legal right to exclude others from making, using, selling, offering to sell, or importing an invention into the United States.  The United States Constitution explicitly grants this exclusive right in Article I, Section 8, which enumerates Congressional powers.    

     Numerous authors have written volumes on patent infringement, and many patent attorneys dedicate their careers to the countless nuances of patent infringement case law.  Patent infringement technically falls into tort law, which provides parties the right to bring a lawsuit to address civil wrongs.  At its most basic level, the Civil Engineering patent owner asserting a patent against an accused infringer must prove by a preponderance of the evidence that each and every element of a patent claim exists in the allegedly infringing process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter.  From this seemingly straightforward foundation, an ever-expanding hydra of patent law complexity springs up.  Although settlement or summary judgment may weed out the more clear-cut cases, many patent infringement cases drift into legal gray areas within 35 USC §§ 101, 102, 103, or 112, pure civil law issues such as standing, inventorship, inequitable conduct and other defenses, claim construction, indirect infringement, remedies, licensing, and antitrust, to name a few.  Not surprisingly, contending with the complexity of the constantly evolving body of patent law makes patent litigation expensive and uncertain.     

     Patent owners typically file their infringement cases as civil suits in U.S. District Court, because federal law all but entirely preempts state law in the United States.  Except for some relatively outlandish scenarios (e.g., possibly involving certain counterclaim situations), state courts do not hear patent infringement cases.  In bringing their cases, patent owners must be wary of a targeted infringer striking first in a Declaratory Judgment action.  Also, in the wake of some recent appeals court cases denying injunctions to patent owners (despite, evidently, the U.S. Constitution’s explicitly stated right to exclude), the International Trade Commission (ITC) has become a popular destination for qualifying patent cases.  Under 19 USC § 1337, ITC Administrative Law Judges preside over a proceeding, popularly known as a “§ 337 case,” that grants strictly injunctive relief if the patent owner wins the case.  The ITC fast-tracks its § 337 cases, further contributing to the popularity of the ITC forum, as faster relief amounts to better relief for nearly all patent owners.  Regardless of the path a patent owner takes to enforce a patent, both plaintiffs and defendants should probably expect an expensive and uncertain ordeal. 
Tappan Zee Bridge in New York
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