New Jersey residents may be surprised to learn that some of the nation’s largest companies routinely ignore patents in their rush to enter emerging markets. These companies produce similar products and then make it difficult for patent holders by using their legal departments or hiring attorneys to challenge the validity of the patent or patents involved. Litigation can be costly and protracted, and these companies hope that market dominance will have been won before it is resolved.
The prospect of lengthy legal battles over thorny areas of the nation’s intellectual property laws can be a daunting one for patent holders, and this may be especially true when the defendant is a large company with virtually limitless resources. Even when patent owners do have the funds needed to pursue legal remedies, laws like the America Invents Act and bodies like the Patent Trial and Appeal Board make their chances of prevailing dishearteningly slim.
Even preliminary injunctions in patent dispute cases can cost millions of dollars in legal and bonding fees to obtain, and the process often takes months to complete. However, winning an injunction in court often becomes a Pyrrhic victory for patent holders as infringers may sidestep the issue by making minor modifications to their infringing products. This allows them to both avoid the injunction and draw patent holders into an entirely new wave of litigation.
Attorneys with experience in patent law may seek to protect their clients from infringement and lengthy and expensive legal disputes by ensuring that their patents do not seem vulnerable to potential infringers. Steps that they may take to accomplish this include checking all patent applications and supporting documentation for omissions or errors and responding decisively at the earliest signs of infringement.