A New Jersey company that owns intellectual property will likely have a financial interest in preventing its unauthorized use. Intellectual property consists of copyrights, trademarks, patents and trade secrets. These terms represent different creations of the human mind that frequently form proprietary business assets.
When the owner of intellectual property identifies an alleged violation, the first enforcement step is usually a cease-and-desist letter. This letter will describe the entity’s legal claim to the property and insist that the violator stop using it now and in the future. Typically, a deadline is given for compliance before the owner files a lawsuit.
Some violations result in substantial financial losses to a company. For example, Versata had millions of dollars at stake when the company asserted that Ford Motor Company had copied the software that it had previously licensed to the automaker for $8.45 million a year. Patent disputes of this nature frequently occur within the automotive industry. A study of patent litigation conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers placed this industry among the top 10 of initiators of lawsuits between 1995 and 2012.
Because intellectual property litigation can be costly, a company could consult an attorney while making decisions about the issue. An attorney could present the client’s claims to the infringing party. Pre-litigation negotiations conducted by an attorney might result in a settlement that preserves control of the intellectual property by obtaining a payment or licensing agreement. Should a solution not emerge, then an attorney could prepare the case for litigation, including an estimate of the dollar value of the losses that have been incurred.