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Patent Litigation
New Inventions Success

Patent Litigation

Patent litigation is just like any other litigation when you look at the big picture. It is very expensive, most suits never make it to trial but instead are settled, they take a loooooong time to resolve, and they can mean the difference between success and failure of a business. However, when you look at the details, there are some HUGE differences. Let's take a look:

Food Processor - Patent Drawing

Markman Hearings

Patent litigation is kind of like suing for trespass on property. However, when you sue for trespass on property it is usually easy to prove that the other side crossed the property line. When you cross that line you are guilty of patent infringement. In patent litigation, 80% of the fight usually comes down to deciding exactly where the property lines are. This is where the Markman hearing comes into play during the litigation of a patent. During the hearing (it is a long process) the claims of the patent are reviewed in excruciating detail and a (sometimes) clear understanding is reached on exactly what the claims mean. Usually, by this point one side or the other knows if they are winning or losing.

Technology Is Key

Most court cases are about who did what to whom, when, where, and why. There is lots of talk of people, places, times and events. Patent litigation adds a little extra something that is foreign to the courts - science! Nothing can ruin a judge's day like a little particle physics or organic chemistry. Nothing can cause a jury to screw their heads upside down like customized laser diffraction gratings or triple-redundant data systems. To make the litigation of a patent work, you need a few things:


Patent court room drama usually revolves around the domination of a market niche, segment, or even an entire market. These markets usually represent billions to trillions of dollars of revenue per year. Many patent suits are called "bet-the-company" suits because somebody is literally betting the whole company on whether they win the suit or not. With these kinds of stakes, it is no surprise that R&D is so critical to the success of many companies, large and small.


Patent litigation has some major differences from "regular" litigation. There is a special sub-hearing called a Markman hearing where the "property lines" are drawn. Because the technology is often so difficult to comprehend, you need some specialized experts and professionals to "bring it home." Why do people go through all this trouble? Because the payout can be humungous.

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Mike Starkweather

Mike Starkweather
Patent Attorney

Mike was a patent examiner at the United States Patent Office. While there he examined over 300 patent applications. This experience has helped him to understand all the subtleties of getting a patent. You want that experience on your side.

Mike is extraordinarily creative in finding patentable features. Sometimes it requires thinking outside of the box to find the patentable features of an invention. He has an expertise at finding ways to get patents on new inventions that other patent professionals would not consider.

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