What is patent litigation?

What is patent litigation? Curious how to know if someone is infringing your patent rights, or if you are at risk for being sued for patent infringement? And is patent litigation really worth it? Here’s a brief overview.   

What is patent litigation?

Patent litigation involves a claim that another’s product or method falls within the scope of (or “infringes”) a patent issued by the USPTO. A winning patent owner, who directly competes with a defendant typically can obtain a court order barring further infringement and awarding monetary damages.

How do I know if someone may be infringing my patent rights?

Often, companies quickly become aware when a competitor may be infringing one of their patents because the competitor’s product or process is very similar to the company’s product or process. Periodic searching of patent databases can also provide an early signal that new companies are entering a technology area.

How do I know if I am at risk of being sued for patent infringement?

Assessing the likelihood of being sued can be complex and may require searches for and analysis of patents related to the existing or proposed product or process (comparable to the due diligence conducted when one company acquires another).

Is patent litigation worth it?

The answer, of course, depends on the case. The advantages include the possibility of a permanent injunction (i.e., a legal monopoly until the patent expires). The damages recovered can also be large. For example, there have been some patent cases that resulted in billion-dollar verdicts. The impact on a competitor in the marketplace can be significant, affecting the competitor’s morale, personnel, investors, and customer base. The attendant risks can also be significant, however, in terms of cost, possible counterclaims, business disruption, and the possible loss of a patent due to its invalidation.

Interested in learning more? Visit our litigation page.