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Patent Lawsuit
New Inventions Success
Patent Lawsuit
Patent Infringement

Patent Lawsuit

Who can start a patent lawsuit?

A patent owner can certainly file a patent lawsuit against an alleged infringer. In some cases a license holder can file a patent suit if they have the proper rights spelled out in their license agreement. However, most people don't know that the infringer can file intellectual property litigation against the patent owner, but only if the patent owner first threatens to sue. This can be a terrible surprise if the patent owner is not ready to go to court. Even worse, the infringer may choose a court that is inconvenient, expensive, or perhaps even hostile to the patent owner.

Lawsuit Game - Patent Drawing

What happens in a patent lawsuit?

Patent litigation follows the typical course of a regular lawsuit. There is a complaint filed by one side and an answer by the other. Both sides work on discovery, which is the chance to gather facts that help their cases. Patent cases also have a special hearing called a Markman hearing where the claims of the patent are discussed in great detail. Claims are the part of a patent that lay out the property rights of the patent owner. They can be very technical and complicated, so the courts have the Markman hearing to help everyone agree on what the claims mean. Often, the case is won or lost in the Markman hearing. Often the Markman hearing comes down to the meaning of just one word or phrase. Millions of dollars can be riding on what that one word means.

What other issues come up with patent infringement lawsuits?

Patent lawsuits are all about patent infringement, but other issues can come up, too. Often there are arguments about contracts or licenses. Sometimes the patent owner is attacked for monopolistic behavior. The honesty of the patent owner, the inventors, and their patent attorneys is almost always put to question. Finally, a patent suit might include claims of trade secret abuse or violations of confidentiality rights, especially if an inventor of the technology goes to another company and that company infringes.

Some of the biggest patent infringement payouts

Here are some examples of some of the biggest patent infringement awards and settlements. You can see that the meaning of a word can sometimes really matter:


Lawsuits in general are to be avoided. They are the final remedy when your rights are violated. Patent infringement lawsuits can be very expensive, but the above settlements show that the solitary inventor can protect his rights, when the chips are down.

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