Can Small Businesses Avoid Patent Trolls?
With patent litigation pending in Congress, it is not immediately clear how effective new rules will be for deterring patent trolls and bogus lawsuits. But businesses can nevertheless be on guard to protect against spurious litigation by employing several common sense techniques, such as the ones highlighted below, to avoid litigation with entities that enforce patents with no intention or capability of manufacturing a product.
Be thorough in your research. Before any product or service you offer enters the free market, diligently conduct a search to ensure that you are not infringing on any existing patent. The U.S. Patent and Trademark office (USPTO) provides a search page with texts and images, and an instructional manual to guide viewers on how to perform a patent search. In the event you receive a letter alleging infringement, it is important to research who the plaintiff is, whether he is a legitimate patent holder and the facts as to how your product infringes on his patent.
Consider obtaining intellectual property insurance. Several insurance companies have begun to offer intellectual property insurance to protect businesses if they are subject to legal action. The business must be insured prior to any legal action occurring.
Secure you digital presence. According to experts in the field, patent trolls are skilled at finding vulnerable parties to burden with lawsuits. Businesses can make this process difficult by developing an online registration system for parties who want to view your documents, or undertaking a more restrictive procedure that limits document review to people who work within the business.
Connors & Associates provides experienced legal advice in the areas of patent, trademark and copyright law. John Connors and his team of associates have the expertise to counsel clients about protecting their intellectual property rights. Contact Connors & Associates at (949) 833-3622 or visit them online to learn more about our services or to schedule a consultation.