Patent litigation is one of the most basic tools for protecting your intellectual property rights. However, most organizations won't want to dive right into a lawsuit. At the same time, it's important to know when to ask a patent lawyer to help you sue a non-compliant party. If you're seeing these four signs, it may be time to pull the trigger on litigation.
Normally, you should make a good-faith effort to resolve patent issues with parties that might not have known they were in the wrong. That doesn't necessarily mean the other side will act in good faith, though. If you're starting to feel like the entire process is meant to delay and deflect legal action, you may need to take stiffer actions.
Tell a patent lawyer what has happened. An attorney can recommend a course of action. If they feel it's necessary, this may include making the other party aware of your willingness to sue.
Many organizations negotiate solutions to patent violations. You might offer to set up a license to use the patent under specific circumstances so you can convert a violation into a revenue stream, for example. Arriving at favorable terms for both parties, though, isn't always easy. The violating party may not want to pay as much you demand, or they might not like particular limitations on their use of the patent.
When negotiations fail, it's probably time for litigation. Bear in mind, though, pursuing litigation doesn't preclude further negotiations. The other side may think better of it once they receive formal paperwork for a suit.
Especially if a party keeps violating the patent while you're trying to reach an amicable solution, you should consider litigation. As a gesture of good faith, a violator should cease the use of your IP as soon as possible. If you have evidence the misuse has continued to exploit your IP without an agreement and appropriate compensation, you need to put a stop to it immediately.
Once you sue, you can ask a judge to enter a court order stopping the violations while the case is pending. If the other side wants to keep up the violations after receiving a court order, they can take their chances with a contempt proceeding.
The worst scenario is if a violator rejects your patent claims and refuses to even consider negotiating a solution. If the other side won't entertain the idea of observing your IP rights, you will likely have to assert your patent claims with litigation.
If you have questions about patent litigation, contact a lawyer today.
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