Patent Trolls and Intellectual Property Litigation
Larger companies normally have many advantages over smaller companies in the competitive marketplace. One area where this is not necessarily true is intellectual property. Larger companies might have more capacity to protect their intellectual property, but smaller companies can have just as much brilliance and innovation in their ideas. Unfortunately, some large corporations have been utilizing the legal system to bully smaller companies with valid patents to drive them out of business.
Patent litigation has been trending downward according to recent figures. Less than 4,000 suits were projected for 2018—down from 5,800 in 2015. The lower numbers are due in part to a decline in patent assertion entities (PAEs) or as some have called them, “patent trolls.” PAEs utilize their own patents for profit by suing other patent holders for infringement, rather than working with these companies to produce goods or services.
Americans have been growing more and more concerned about Big Tech monopolies that have the ability and power to utilize the patent system to maintain their market dominance by abusing the court system. Dominant firms such as these have shown no interest in receiving royalties or settlements and have immense financial incentive to hurt their competitors through IP litigation.
An article by David Rubinfeld and Robert Maness argues that a “firm could employ a litigation strategy that burdens its rivals with patent suits which are costly to defend and which increase the rival’s uncertainty about its ability to sell competing products.” The end result of the litigation may not even matter, as these cases don’t need to end in victory—the strategy can work regardless of a lawsuit’s merits.
Know Your Small Business’s Intellectual Property Rights
Innovative ideas can often be the very foundation of the success of your small business, so don’t let competitors misappropriate your most valuable assets. Copyrights, patents, and trademarks need to be registered properly in order for the owner to have legal rights and obtain certain damages in court. Proper registration is the first step in protecting your company’s valuable intellectual property rights from patent trolls and others who would infringe on your rights for profit.
In today’s free-market society, good ideas can be worth millions; however, they can become virtually worthless when others attempt to reap the benefits through targeted and often frivolous litigation.
Houston Intellectual Property Litigation Attorneys
The attorneys at Adair Myers Graves Stevenson have decades of experience working with businesses of all sizes to protect their intellectual property and, when necessary, litigate to fight for their client’s IP. When another business’s actions threaten your legal rights, turn to our firm for decisive action. We can take immediate steps to stop the competition from profiting off of your ideas. Contact us today for a free consultation.