The Patent Cooperation Treaty is an important international patent law. It allows individuals to file an international application for a patent as long as they are living in a country that was part of the Paris Convention of the Protection of Industrial Property in 1883. While that convention ended in 1970, it was later amended and modified, so it's still used today.
As a consumer, you may be interested when two major companies get into a heated dispute about their patents. Knowing if a company is honest is a key component to purchasing in the market; those that cheat, lie or steal find themselves without a customer base.
You have patents on all your most important goods. You've been selling them for years, and the patents you have protect your products from being copied by others. Despite that, you've recently seen a few companies put out similar items. One of your old employees works at one of those companies now, so you have an idea about how they got the information they have now on how to recreate your product.
The patent and intellectual property arenas are difficult ones, even for attorneys. It is sometimes hard to understand exactly what protections and rights preexisting patents, trademarks and copyrights bestow. Some uses are acceptable, while others are not. In some instances, it is proper to seek judicial relief against intellectual property violations, but other times such action is borderline frivolous.