From the onset of patent infringement cases, to the end, legal advisement is essential to navigate through the often-complicated road of patent infringement litigation. The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) grants the right of ownership to the inventor of a product, apparatus, process, composition, or design; but, it does not defend or enforce those rights, leaving the fate of valuable intellectual property to the tenacity of the inventor in cases of patent infringement.
With the help of patent infringement lawyers and other professionals, an inventor does have the right and ability to file for a patent infringement lawsuit. This could possibly lead to a mutually beneficial settlement, although if both parties cannot agree to settle, the inventor and alleged infringer are forced to go through the entire litigation process, which can take several years, and cost more money than most individuals have. Better to consult with some expert firm like Lawfirmsr.com where you will find some legal advice.
The Role of Patent Infringement Lawyers During Litigation
Whether protecting a patent or defending against an accusation of infringement, professional help is necessary in cases of patent infringement because of the severity of the charge and the potential for financial ruin or gain. Patent infringement lawyers should guide their client through the entire process, creating the opinion, responding to or making charges, advising on decisions, and representing the best interests of the patent holder or the accused.
When an inventor feels that their patent claim has been used, copied, or sold by another individual or company, the litigation process begins with a cease and desist letter, which lists the patent and the product which is allegedly infringing on the patent. Patent infringement lawyers defending the accused will at this point form an opinion by analyzing the file history of the patent, checking the validity of the patent claims, and possibly having an expert compare the alleged product to the patented product. They will decide if the alleged infringement is literal, meaning that every part of the patent claim has been copied, or if it is a case of equivalency infringement, meaning that essentially the same technology, process, or method was used to create essentially the same product. The patent infringement opinion is then sent back to the inventor’s legal team.
Once the full scope of the case is understood by both sides, the two parties can either agree on a patent infringement settlement or continue on to have the outcome decided upon in court.
Patent Enforcement Firms to Deal with Patent Infringement Litigation
For the benefit of small business owners or individuals who cannot defend their patent claims for financial reasons, there is an alternative option to directly contacting patent infringement lawyers. Patent enforcement companies work to protect the intellectual property rights of small-time inventors who have had their ownership rights infringed upon by a larger entity, such as a multi-million dollar company endowed with much greater financial resources than an individual.
Firms, such as the General Patent Corporation accept patent infringement cases that have a decent chance of winning in court. Generally, they offer their services for a portion of the settlement or litigation awards, forgoing upfront fees and any compensation at all if they fail to make a settlement or win in court. As patent enforcement firms focus on patent infringement, they tend to provide highly specialized professionals who work towards an easy settlement rather than following through on a lawsuit. If a patent infringement settlement is not possible, they usually find a lawyer for their client and remain involved throughout the case.
How a Patent Infringement Settlement Works
Settling out of court is not uncommon with patent infringement cases as litigation can be financially and mentally draining for both sides of a dispute. With the settlement option, there are a variety of possibilities. The claims of previous infringement can be let go for a sum. As to future use of the patent, sometimes a company will agree to royalty payments for the use and sale of a product, giving the inventor a continuous stream of income for their intellectual property. After a patent infringement settlement, the inventor no longer has the right to go after the defendant for infringement.
Patent Infringement Cases Which Conclude with a Lawsuit
A settlement is not always possible, in which case the patent infringement lawsuit has to be brought to court. If the inventor believes that their case is secure, going to court can result in the defendant being forced to pay for damages, for royalties which should have been paid, and even for legal fees. If the case is determined to be willful infringement, the damages can increase threefold. A victory for the inventor also means the defendant has to stop making, using, and selling the patented product. If the inventor does not have a good chance of winning in the end, the litigation ends up becoming an enormous drain of financial resources, usually over a period of years.
With a proficient legal team, the intellectual property rights of the inventor should be secured, at least from the company the lawsuit was against. Patent infringement litigation may be a trying process, but one that many individuals and companies must endure to protect the hard work and pioneering efforts of inventors.