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Corporate guidelines when responding to a patent dispute

Intellectual property law is a minefield for a business. When you invest in research and development, hire employees, or license other businesses to use your ideas, you want to ensure that everything you do is legally protected. If you own patents or trademarks, make sure their value isn’t diminished by any infringement claims that may come up. Understanding what to do if someone else files a patent infringement suit against your company will help you prepare a faster, stronger defense. 

Do not respond to the summons and complaint without careful review

Patent infringement disputes can get very technical very quickly. Before picking up a pen to write a response to the lawsuit, you have to know how best to respond. Review the claims carefully. If you ignore the details of the lawsuit and send your own paperwork in response, it can strengthen the other party’s case against you. You should address the lawsuit’s allegations within your company’s response.

Figure out who owns what

Whoever files the lawsuit has the burden of proof in the case. In other words, if a lawsuit is being brought against your company, the other party is expected to prove that your company is guilty of infringing upon its patent rights. As part of your defense, put together a solid case that shows why the patent itself is not valid. If you own the patent, you are in an excellent position to make that case. 

The complaint and summons

The patent infringement lawsuit you are facing will have a complaint and a summons. This legal process, initiated by a plaintiff, requires the defendant named in the suit to appear in court. The complaint outlines the details of the allegation and is always accompanied by a summons. A summons explains to the defendant that they are named in the lawsuit and that they requested to appear in court. The summons is delivered by a professional process server who must comply with specific instructions for serving a lawsuit. 

Prepare your case

Intellectual property law can be complicated to navigate. To defend yourself against a patent dispute, take all the necessary steps to prepare a solid case. Collect as much documentation as you can that supports your claim. Research your legal rights, as well as the rights of the opposition, so you know where your case lies within the eyes of the law.