Obtaining a patent is an exciting time and often a turning point for someone who has spent months or years working on a design or application. Unfortunately, simply having a patent does not always protect the patent holder from potential legal issues. It is just as important to have legal representation at the ready in the event that a patent problem, such as an infringement issue, emerges. Having a law firm with attorneys who understands patent litigation as well as the best way to respond to this situation is critical. Time is of the essence in a patent infringement claim since the longer someone else uses what should be protected material has a direct impact on your rights and revenue.
Protecting the interests of a patent holder is often the primary reason that someone will seek insight from a patent litigator. There are many different individuals who may hold patents, including those who have invented or contributed to the development of items such as:
- Medical devices
- Television set up boxes
- Email and internet-related technologies
- Oil drilling
- Water treatment
- Electrical components
- And many others
Claims of patent infringement can represent a significant risk to the patent holder. Disputes regarding ownership of patents, patent licenses, and inventorship can also be extremely problematic for all involved individuals. This is why it is essential to consult with knowledgeable counsel about patent litigation issues.
Frequently, in patent litigation issues, the litigators may work closely with patent specialists who have the relevant technical knowledge associated with the item or development in question.
Patent litigation can be expensive and lengthy, but the burden is not as heavy with the insight of the right patent litigation firm. A patent litigation firm should explore all of the relevant legal issues in the case to best represent the client. When a business venture or another entity owns a patent and that patent is in any way infringed, the patent owner will rarely have alternatives outside of patent litigation.
In order to fully protect your rights, you need to take action immediately after you become aware of a patent issue. Having an established relationship with a knowledgeable patent attorney allows an immediate response to address legal issues before they escalate any further. In an ideal situation, issues involving patent infringement can be addressed well before going to court. Unfortunately, however, some situations need to escalate to the level of litigation to resolve them effectively.
A successful outcome in patent litigation can give the owner of the patent some peace of mind about how to handle similar issues in the future, and it can also lay the groundwork for other strategies that can help prevent future conflicts. Having an attorney who is already familiar with the key legal issues allows a prompt response, so it is in the best interests of the business owner to tap into an experienced patent litigation firm early in the process.
Possible Outcomes of Patent Litigation
There are several common outcomes associated with patent litigation, and it is valuable to be aware of these before consulting with a patent litigator.
- Exclusion order. This is similar to a permanent injunction as it would stop the person infringing the patent from importing products that use that infringed patent into the United States. However, the exclusion order does not allow the patent owner to be compensated for damages.
- Injunctive relief. A patent litigator exploring a total patent litigation tactic may seek an injunction against the person infringing the patent to stop production or sale of the infringing service or product using the patent. This may stop the illegal use of the patent, but does not provide any compensation to the owner of the patent.
- Negotiated settlements. In the event that a patent owner has a well-financed and skilled firm handling the litigation, the patent owner may be able to avoid litigation altogether and negotiate settlement involving a licensing arrangement wherein the patent owner receives money for use of the patent. This may also include:
- Retroactive payments for use of the patent.
- Monetary damages
A patent owner may be eligible to recover damages from the infringing party in this type of settlement, such as lost profits that would have been made from the patent and, at a minimum, royalties from the infringing party who used the patent. Consulting with a knowledgeable patent litigation firm is an essential next step.
If you need help with patent issues, contact KPPB LAW today.