When an entity or individual obtains a patent, their product is protected from being replicated or sold in any way. Typically, patents last around 20 years unless they are renewed. When a patent expires, the intellectual property becomes available to the public.
Despite patents being granted by the government, they are not necessarily enforced by anyone other than the patent owner. This is where patent disputes can arise. Parties involved in a patent dispute may want to immediately take the case to trial, but before that happens, there are other ways to settle patent litigation and give the patent owner what is rightfully theirs.
Filing Patent Litigation
According to Cornell, in order to file a patent claim, the plaintiff must attest that the filing is done without “any improper purpose, such as to harass, cause unnecessary delay, or needlessly increase the cost of litigation.” The plaintiff and their attorney will then identify whether the infringement is direct or indirect. Laying out the complaint will help determine if a dispute could go to trial.
Once the dispute is filed in a federal district court, the defendant is then notified of the complaint. This sets up the process of the defendant issuing an answer or counterclaim for the patent dispute. The entire process can take weeks or months, depending on agreements between the parties. After proper evidence has been presented and proceedings have taken place, a judge will determine the outcome of the case.
Length of Patent Litigation
In typical cases, patent litigation can take anywhere between a few weeks to several months. When the plaintiff and defendant present evidence and the judge reviews, more evidence may be necessary. Judges may also consult certain experts based on the complex nature of intellectual property and patent infringement.
If a patent case does end up going to trial it can last for years. These cases take time to determine if a trial is necessary, including gathering evidence and witnesses. If an outcome is indeterminable based on simple court proceedings, then the case will go to trial. Because it can take years, it is rare for patent disputes to appear in trial.
Expense of Patent Litigation
Apart from the length of getting a patent dispute to trial, it can be extremely expensive for both parties. The fees charged to get into court can be daunting. In fact, patent litigation cases are more expensive than most court proceedings.
Defendants in patent disputes recognize that paying the damages up front will be cheaper than paying for court proceedings in the long run. Even if the defendant wins the case, they may end up paying more to go to trial. Both parties typically end up preferring to save time and money by avoiding going to court and working out the dispute early on.
Outcomes of Patent Litigation
Experts estimate that approximately 95% of patent disputes do not go to trial but are instead settled outside of court. It is no surprise, either. When both the plaintiff and defendant agree to settle, they save time and money by avoiding litigation proceedings.
Patent owners often find success when they file a patent claim, so long as there is proper evidence to support their claims. While it may take some time, it can be worthwhile in the long run to follow through with a claim.
Your Patent Protection Partners
While it is rare for patent disputes to go to trial, some do. If you find yourself in need of world-class intellectual property representation in Minneapolis and beyond, go with the team at Patterson Thuente. When you file a patent claim, we will work to protect your ideas and get you the royalties and credit you deserve. We are a team of experienced attorneys who specialize in patent claims, intellectual property litigation and trademark & brand protection. Contact Patterson Thuente and protect your ideas.