Answers To Some Common Questions About Intellectual Property Litigation
Disputes and litigation over intellectual property (IP), such as patents, trademarks and copyrights can make or break a company’s or entrepreneur’s opportunities for profitability through these assets. Whether you are a plaintiff bringing an infringement claim or a defendant responding to such accusations, Roland Tong, Attorney and Partner of Manning, & Kass, Ellrod, Ramirez, Trester LLP can provide the advice that you need.
Below are some questions that clients and potential clients often bring up, along with possible answers. For customized answers applicable to your unique concerns, schedule a consultation.
Will a cease-and-desist letter put a stop to IP infringement? Can such a letter avert the need for litigation?
Cease-and-desist letters play an important role in many IP infringement cases, but they must be handled with care because they can backfire. A threatening letter raises the possibility that a potential defendant in a different state might drag you into court there, possibly at great cost to you. It’s also a big business distraction to possibly be countersued in a different state. You could open yourself up to a lawsuit you didn’t want.
Are there less risky ways to assert one’s IP rights other than sending cease-and-desist letters to infringers?
One way would be to send a nonthreatening letter that doesn’t mention anything about a lawsuit. It might say something like this: “I noticed you have a product out there that may resemble our patented product. Please refer to our patent number. This letter serves as a friendly notice.”
What if a defendant in an IP infringement dispute is more aggressive? What might happen?
A defendant may respond to a cease-and-desist letter by filing a lawsuit against you in their own state, in a venue of their choosing. To prevent this undesirable turn of events, file your lawsuit first but hold off on serving the complaint to the infringer. You can then send the cease-and-desist letter. If the other side files in their state, there may be ways to have such a filing removed if you filed your lawsuit first.
If defending against a lawsuit will be very expensive, are there other resources to help with that defense?
Look into your business insurance policies. Sometimes, these policies have coverage for advertising injury. You might be able to tap into insurance to help pay for the litigation that you need to protect your intellectual property when advertising is part of the picture. Patent infringement is usually excluded from such insurance policies, but you may be able to get relief for lawsuits alleging advertising injury.
What can you do when you are accused of patent infringement?
Please see the article on this exact topic, which lists eight possible ways to defend yourself in the event of a patent infringement claim against you.
Is IP Litigation A Threat To Your Business’ Success?
Indeed, IP litigation – over patents, trademarks, copyrights or trade secrets – may be critical to the success or failure of a business venture. Attorney Roland Tong is experienced and effective in asserting his clients’ rights and resolving disputes in ways that fit specific situations.