Patents protect intellectual property, but they are most effective when the holder is willing to defend them using litigation. It may involve jury trials, bench trials or even a subsequent appeal to the Circuit Court.
The outcomes from these trials will vary from case to case, but typical results include:
- Infringement: The plaintiff successfully argues that the infringer product falls within one or more of the patent’s protections. The infringer will pay royalties to the plaintiff, including damages, court fees, filing fees, and legal costs. There likely will also be a post-trial injunction that protects the patent now and in the future.
- False patent marking: This is a competitive injury requirement for plaintiffs who believe the false marking caused damage and hindered their ability to conduct business. This was designed to battle patent-marking trolls.
- Declaratory judgment: Any judgment in a general legal case is declaratory, but this can be done before the case goes to trial. It determines each party’s patent rights before proceeding to trial. It can allow the alleged infringer to file a suit to resolve the dispute, or it may establish that damages are accruing.
- Correction of inventorship: This occurs when someone wants their name added to (or someone else’s name removed from) the list of patent inventors.
- Patent term adjustment: This enables the holder to extend the patent under specific circumstances. Often, this is due to a delay in the patent’s processing.
- Patent amendment: This involves changing an application that the USPTO rejected with the understanding that the applicant would subsequently make the amendments to secure the patent.
- Invalidity: The alleged infringer may file a counterclaim against the plaintiff, claiming that the patent is invalid.
- SPC granted: A supplementary protection certificate extends the lengths of specific rights for a patent. It is specific to Europe and commonly used for drugs and herbicides.
- License disclosure: This is another counter case filed by the defendant that forces the plaintiff to reveal licensing deals tied to a patent, including royalty rates. It is designed as a patent troll deterrent since it exposes licensees with no intention of taking a patent to market. However, the licensee can also win and would likely receive damages without disclosing the information.
Legal guidance is often invaluable
No one should litigate anything without the help of a lawyer, but intellectual property matters involve complicated rules and regulations. Not only do patent litigators understand what is at stake, but they also have the hands-on know-how of an experienced trial lawyer.