Another company throws a serious charge your way: an accusation of patent infringement. This is not time to panic, even though you know that litigation involving patent matters are expensive. Your company must prepare for a strong defense in confronting these serious accusations.
However, in some instances, you may take the offensive as well. Maybe this rival company is the one infringing on your patents. Nevertheless, your executive team needs to take precautions, do significant preparation and understand that you may be in for a bumpy ride through the legal system.
Important steps to take
Here are some of the crucial steps your company must take after having been accused of patent infringement.
- Understand the deadline to respond. Once a summons and complaint arrive, you have 21 days to file a response, so promptly do so.
- Preserve and protect all critical information by implementing a legal hold on it. Avoid any violations such as destroying or deleting documents, which are necessary for discovery purposes.
- Determine which product has been accused of the infringement and gather all accounting information such as sales and revenue. This provides a good idea about the importance of this product to your company.
- Review the remedy options that the plaintiff may pursue if the case goes to litigation. The rival company may seek royalties, lost profits or an injunction against you.
- Thoroughly investigate the patent holder. Determine the size of the company, whether they market competing products, the importance of its patent, whether it has been involved in previous litigation and the name of its counsel.
- Retain an experienced patent attorney.
- Pursue settlement and negotiation discussions.
- Determine whether your company can pursue legal action against them. Maybe they have infringed upon your patents.
Resolution is essential, and the preservation of your company is a necessity when dealing with patent litigation cases. Be thorough, prepared and understand any potential worst-case scenarios.