Patent Infringement lawsuits are highly expensive and being a defendant in such a lawsuit is expensive at the best and back breaking at the worst. A small business may go out of business if it’s sued for patent Infringement. Nowadays, a few opportunists misuse the patent system by registering a patent in vague terms as means of extorting businesses. These are called the patent trolls. The susceptibility of business especially a small business to a patent Infringement lawsuit makes it necessary to take steps to avoid these patent trolls.
Launching a product or service
A business owner needs to be careful before launching or starting a service or product in the market. You need to search whether the service or product you are launching or Initiating is already patented or not. The USPTO or the United States Patent and Trademark Office facilitate users through a search option for both text and image patent searches. You can also use the patent search section of Google to search whether there is an existing patent or not.
Nowadays the Insurance Companies are providing a policy known as Intellectual Property Insurance. This policy safeguards a business in case of a lawsuit of patent infringement being filed against it. To get this insurance policy, you are needed to prove that your product is not in violation of any existing patents through the patent search. This policy needs to be taken before any legal proceedings are initiated.
Hire an attorney
The services of patent infringement attorneys are instrumental in safeguarding the interests of business. The attorney not only helps in the procurement of intellectual property through patent registration but he is also needed in case of a lawsuit. Although their services are expensive, a few lawyers provide a free consultation to their clients to judge their willingness to fight. Many times a reply from your attorney will be the end of a patent troll’s attempt of extortion.
When you are sued
The one thing that needs to be worked out when you receive a letter of demand or the notice of legal action is to identify whether you are infringing or not. Avoid any direct communication since a patent troll is aware that most of the patent Infringement cases are settled out of court. In case, you are infringing there is the major possibility of reaching a settlement and avoiding the legal proceeding.
As soon as you receive any such communication the first step is hiring an attorney to represent you. Any reply or a request for an extension needs to be given within the deadline mentioned in the communication. An attorney may be instrumental in reducing the amount that you may have to pay or help you in understanding and using the laws that are in place to counter patent trolls.
The best way of avoiding the patent trolls is making sure that the product or services offered by you don’t have an existing patent. An attorney is a huge help in verifying that your product is not a part any existing patents and also to counter any efforts by patent trolls to harass and extort you.