Contact our team

What is Patent Litigation?

September 17, 2018

In simple terms, patent litigation is the legal process that unfolds when someone who owns the patent for a particular invention enforces their right by suing another for manufacturing or selling the invention without permission. More often than not, this claim is countered by the accused party who will argue that that particular patent should be deemed invalid.

First-to-File

The first-to-file system is now universal and used in all countries, including the US, which switched to first-to-file when the America Invents Act was signed into law in 2013. That means that even if a person had already developed an idea, unless they have already filed to begin the patenting process, that idea would still be up for ownership.

Patent Litigation – The Long Game

Make no mistake, patent litigation lawsuits are rarely short, easy or inexpensive. That’s because both parties are trying to claim ownership of the same idea or invention and the evidence here is often quite murky. Various patent experts need to be consulted and deposed and the discovery process is complicated and time-consuming. With a lengthy trial comes a hefty price tag and many patent litigation cases will notch up millions of dollars in expenses.

If a claim is being countered, it is the job of the legal team to prove that a patent is invalid. There are many ways to do this, but they all revolve around the idea that an invention lacks originality. If an invention is not far-removed enough from an existing patent, there could well be grounds for making this case.

Settle Up

Once a decision has been made by the courts, the mediation process can begin. In many cases, damages are awarded to the winning party and then the court will mediate between the two.

It’s the aim of the court to get both sides to come to a written agreement. Quite often this will result in the losing party, if countering a claim of copyright infringement, paying royalties to the winning side in order to continue using a patented invention.

Top Notch Support

With the right team behind you, a patent litigation lawsuit can be very profitable indeed. But the process is long and arduous and may end up costing more than the damages you are awarded. A top-notch patent firm will be able to offer you the support you need and provide the necessary expertise to deal with every aspect of your case, but don’t forget it’s a long game, and one that you need the patience and perseverance to play.