Effective Patent Issue Solutions | Patent Application Assistance
PATENT LITIGATION AND LICENSING
Your management team may be facing pressure to monetize a patent portfolio and deliver predictable revenues, or you may be threatened with litigation. Our attorneys have extensive experience supporting patent licensing programs for technology companies, and we can do it for you in an efficient manner. In our experience, the vast majority of patents in any substantial patent portfolio are essentially worthless or marginal for generating licensing revenues. Many patent assets have a negative net present value. So, the first milestone for monetizing your portfolio is efficiently determining the potentially valuable patents to keep, and which to let go. Efficient initial financial and technical screening can eliminate most of the chaff. Remaining candidate patent assets can be further screened, under further technical and legal analysis.
Patent licensing programs should be managed with experience and full understanding of the risks and costs involved. It is easy for technology companies to step off into a financial quagmire by over-aggressively pursuing licensing programs for their patent portfolios. This can occur when executives are pressed to deliver financial returns on the patent portfolio with a limited budget and little or no experience managing patent licensing programs, and they underestimate the real risks and costs. When unreasonable demands are maintained and the field of play has not been carefully negotiated between the parties to patent licensing negotiations, efforts can degenerate into expensive, full-blown litigation. This problem can arise, particularly, where decision-makers do not understand real litigation risks, expense and uncertainty of outcomes. The law of patent litigation has evolved to introduce risks for patent owners, even with a solid foundation of patent rights.
Licensing patents to third parties requires “assertion” of the patent rights by the patent owner. In order to manage monetization in a profitable manner, the patent owner must understand how hard you can push before litigation is triggered. In some situations, license negotiations can be initiated and completed without the owner filing suit for patent infringement. In other circumstances, filing suit and advancing deep into litigation may be required to support your licensing programs. In order to conserve resources and preserve the integrity of the patent portfolio, it is advisable to avoid unnecessary litigation. But, in order to realize reasonable financial returns from your portfolio of patent rights, the patent owner may find it necessary to initiate patent litigation in order to force a prospective licensee to fully engage in licensing negotiations.
Conversely, when your business is targeted for patent assertion, we can assist by defending against license demands and patent infringement litigation brought by an aggressive patent owner seeking license payments. Often these efforts begin by carefully analyzing the patents and confidently informing the patent owner of the weaknesses and risks of asserting the patents that are sought to be licensed against your company. Defending against patent infringement litigation may be necessary, but the expense and risks should be avoided where possible.
Patent infringement litigation to enforce U.S. patents against infringement by competitors is relatively rare and is accompanied by high stakes and cost. Complexity is an enduring hallmark of patent litigation and, where necessary, you must rely on experienced professionals for guidance to resolve matters related to costs and risks. Contact Hunt Pennington Kumar & Dula PLLC today.
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