When a California business feels like a competitor or third party has infringed upon its valid patent, the business still has to calculate the cost of legally pursuing the offender and compare it to the possible benefits from litigation.
In this respect, it might be helpful to understand what remedies federal law provides after a business or individual inventor proves patent infringement:
First, the plaintiff may receive a court injunction against the defendant that prohibits the infringement on the patent. If the defendant then continues to infringe in violation of the court’s order, the plaintiff can ask for additional penalties, including finding the defendant in contempt.
There may also be a handful of cases in which the plaintiff, or defendant, may recover reasonable attorney fees from the other party. The courts will not award these without some extraordinary circumstances.
Finally, the holder of a patent is entitled to what the law calls a reasonable royalty fee for the defendant’s misuse of the plaintiff’s patent. The court will award interest and other costs, and may decide to award up to three times the proven amount of the royalty.
Providing the correct amount of damages can be complicated
Determining a reasonable royalty for the patent infringement can be complicated.
The plaintiff may have to prove its damages by using an expert to express an opinion on how much the defendant would have had to pay had the defendant sought a license to use the plaintiff’s patent.
Generally speaking, though, what constitutes a reasonable royalty will depend a lot on how much a judge or jury thinks a patent is worth.
In order for litigation to be worthwhile, a Silicon Valley or Bay Area plaintiff will have to use legal evidence to convince a judge or jury of the full value of the plaintiff’s idea.