Do I Need an Attorney if My Patent Has Been Infringed?
If another person or entity infringes on your patent, it may be necessary to hire an attorney to protect your intellectual property rights. However, it’s possible that you may be able to resolve the issue without the need to hire a lawyer or spend time in court. Let’s take a look at the various outcomes that you might experience in a patent infringement case.
The Infringing Party May Be Willing to Settle
There is a chance that the person or company who violated your intellectual property rights didn’t intend to do so. This may be especially true of those who might not have the resources to do a comprehensive patent or trademark search before selling their products or services. It’s also possible that whoever conducted a patent or trademark search on that party’s behalf misrepresented his or her findings. In these types of scenarios, it may be possible to resolve the matter through private talks or with the help of a mediator.
When Should You Hire an Attorney?
If an infringing party is unwilling to settle the case out of court, you will likely need to hire an attorney. Specifically, you should hire a legal adviser who has experience handling patent, trademark, or other types of intellectual property disputes. A patent infringement attorney may be able to review documents, talk to witnesses and take other steps to create an argument that might lead to a favorable outcome in your case.
It may also be a good idea to hire an attorney prior to accepting a settlement offer. Legal counsel will likely be able to review the agreement and provide insight into whether it is a fair and reasonable one. In some cases, this person might suggest changes to the deal or take other steps to help ensure that you know what you’re agreeing to before a settlement takes effect.
The Patent Is Worthless If You Don’t Enforce It
It’s important to understand that failure to enforce a patent will significantly weaken any protections that it affords you. In most cases, you can take enforcement actions without taking the matter to court. For example, sending a letter offering to license your intellectual property to an infringing party might be sufficient to retain your patent.
Alternatively, you may threaten to take the matter to court if a competitor fails to stop engaging in illegal behavior. Typically, just the threat of a lawsuit can put a stop to actions that might infringe on your rights. At a minimum, it can motivate an offending party to come to the negotiating table in an effort to resolve the matter in a timely and affordable manner.
If you have reason to believe that another party is infringing on a valid patent, you should take action as quickly as possible. A patent infringement attorney may be able to help you decide whether to settle the matter outside of court or push for a formal trial. In the event that your infringement claim is successful, you will likely receive compensation for actual losses incurred. You may also receive punitive damages from the defendant in your case. Punitive damages are meant to serve as a deterrent to other parties who may seek to engage in illegal behavior.