Intellectual property allows companies to maintain their edge within the marketplace, build brand recognition and loyalty, provide unique goods and services, innovate new processes and conduct business in novel ways. When intellectual property rights are infringed upon, intellectual property owners can file litigation to seek redress.
With that said, many companies find themselves on the receiving end of litigation filed in bad faith. Understanding both the legitimate and illegitimate reasons why companies file intellectual property litigation can help business owners to better understand this legal reality in a broader context.
Good-faith litigation efforts
Companies often file litigation in good faith when their leadership has observed that another entity is infringing upon its rights and that entity hasn’t responded to requests to cease and desist that infringement. Enforcing patents, trademarks, copyrights and non-disclosure agreements is important because a failure to do so could endanger a company’s ability to remain a strong, profitable enterprise.
Bad-faith litigation efforts
It is worth noting that not all intellectual property litigation is filed in good faith. The clearest example of bad-faith litigation involves patent trolls. Corporate patent trolls may attempt to hold alleged infringers liable for far more than a supposed infraction is worth or they may gain access to patents simply for the benefit of suing companies that unknowingly use protected innovations. Patent trolls fight hard for compensation, so mounting a vigorous defense against litigation filed by patent trolls is important if your company is going to best its bad-faith efforts.
Whether you are concerned that your company’s rights have been infringed upon or your company has been accused of infringing upon the rights of another, it is important to understand your rights and options under the law. You won’t be able to approach a litigation scenario effectively without a clear understanding of exactly how the law protects intellectual property rights and how they can be effectively enforced.