You have a federal patent. Now what?
A big idea is extremely profitable. Federal patent rights grant you exclusive ownership. However, there is nothing to stop other individuals from selling your innovation. The first step is to search for possibilities. Then, the competitor’s product is compared to your patent claims. If your invention is worth money, there is a high probability that it is being manufactured, distributed, and sold either in this country or abroad.
An infringement search will try to locate activity that violates your patent rights using search engines, commercial networks (i.e. eBay and Amazon), blogs, video sharing sites (i.e. YouTube), and other websites where an infringer would try to market your invention as was discussed in this https://www.glassdoor.com/Reviews/InventHelp-Reviews-E152162.htm article.
Assume that your invention is a way to save money on gas. It is a modification to use less fuel in a car engine compared to other vehicles. What stops an auto parts manufacturer from reading your patent on the USPTO website? That company could start manufacturing the part and market it on the Internet. They could even enter into a contract with stores to market the item on a shelf, or through mail-order.
In today’s economy, methods to save gas is not uncommon or an immediate red flag. But how do you know whether this part was built or designed with original engineering work or copied from your patent?
A search would focus on advertisements that target the cost of fuel. This shows what products are on the market. Your drawings could be used to compare a product to the actual patent. Technical analysis will be crucial as to how the part works.
Imagine the number of websites where methods to save gas are posted. Any one of these sites may have listings that infringe your valuable patent.
Handy Tool Example
You just invented a new tool. Perhaps for the garden. It might be a new shovel design that makes lifting dirt or snow easier and less harmful for your back. Most likely, it will be a simple design and easy to manufacture. It might be as simple as a handle bent with a certain curvature.
Such an easy design could be made in a garage. One photo and a description is all it takes to make a sale on the Internet.
What if the invention is a new shovel to mix cement? It looks like a standard shovel with holes, side rails, or angled grooves to make mixing an easier job. If a standard off-the-shelf shovel could be cut in such a way to copy your design, think how easy it would be for any garage hobbyist to start selling your invention.
It may be very difficult to locate this infringement. You would have to look at pictures of every shovel for sale, online and store shelves, in this country and abroad. There is a helpful article about it on https://www.indeed.com/cmp/Inventhelp.
Big Business Example
What if a big national chain sees your invention and says “What a nice product. Lets make it.” This company has its own brand. They simply submit a design to the factory and start manufacturing your idea under their name. Soon it will be on the shelves of a large corporation with a steady stream of customers 24 hours a day. A search will try to locate online catalogs where your product is listed under another name.