What are your school’s rights as a patent holder?
As stated in 35 USC (the federal law that covers U.S. Patents), a patent is “a grant to the patentee ... of the right to exclude others from making, using, offering for sale, or selling the invention...”. Contrary to what many believe, a patent has nothing to do with the patent owner’s right to practice (that is, use the patented invention in a product or service it offers for sale). A patent is only the right to exclude or prevent others from using the patented invention, and the right to enforce the patent when patent infringement occurs.
Practicing versus not practicing the patented invention
Most businesses fund research and development with the purpose of introducing new products and services that will grow their sales and market share. Universities, however, develop new technologies that will benefit society. Both are noble ventures, but both businesses – that often practice their patents – and universities – that rarely practice their patents – have the absolute right to enforce their patents and to prevent others from using their intellectual property without their permission!
Patent enforcement is complex and expensivee
The burden of proving infringement is on the patent owner, the plaintiff in the patent litigation. No patent owner can even consider launching a patent infringement lawsuit, however, if it is not prepared to cover the cost of the litigation, which includes both fees for the attorneys who try the case and litigation expenses such as hiring experts and expert witnesses. When the patent infringer is a major corporation with deep pockets, it has significant advantages over the university that does not have the financial resources to finance patent infringement litigation. That’s why universities and other not-for-profits need a well-financed champion that can finance a patent infringement lawsuit on their behalf.
Pursuing patent infringers
When they realize that one of their institution’s patents has been infringed, tech transfer managers and university executives often contact the patent agent or patent attorney who help the school receive its patent. However, most patent practitioners focus on patent prosecution (the process of applying for a patent). When it comes to the enforcement of a patent, you need an organization that knows the intricacies of patent enforcement and has considerable expertise and experience in patent litigation. You also need an organization that will champion the university’s cause, and will put the same degree of time and effort into understanding the nuances of the patent’s infringement as the university put into the development of the patented technology!
What about the university’s image?
Some university executives are concerned about how becoming the plaintiff in a patent infringement lawsuit might affect the university’s image, and rightfully so. While many universities have successfully sued infringers of their patents, some schools are hesitant to create what might be considered negative publicity for the institution. Aware of this issue, General Patent offers a unique business model that permits a university to aggressively assert its intellectual property rights, but do so in a discreet manner.
We are serious about patent enforcement
General Patent Corporation pioneered the concept of patent enforcement on a 100% contingency basis. We’ve been successfully enforcing patents for more than twenty years. Our in-house team of patent litigators, licensing experts and negotiators make it their business to understand your university’s patent. We develop a unique patent enforcement strategy for each and every patent owner we represent, and we aggressively and relentlessly pursue your patent infringement claim, putting whatever resources are needed into the patent enforcement effort.
Patent enforcement results for our clients
General Patent has consistently produced winning settlements for the patent owners – inventors, universities, businesses and others – we’ve had the opportunity to represent. In fact, we’ve never failed to either reach a negotiated settlement for a client or win our client’s patent enforcement lawsuit at trial! That’s why so many patent owners turn to General Patent to champion their cause!
No expenses on your part
If we offer to manage and finance a patent enforcement campaign on behalf of your institution, the university pays us nothing We invest in whatever resources are needed – internal manpower, outside counsel, experts and consultants – to aggressively try your infringement claim. We are only paid once we have produced positive results for the university – a negotiated settlement, licensing fees or royalties for the use of your patent, or a victory after trial!
Possible patent enforcement outcomes
We do not focus on getting the university its “day in court” because going to trial may not be the wisest strategy. While we are always prepared to go to trial and have a jury hear the case, we can often negotiate a license with the infringer so the university receives payment for past use of the patent plus royalties for future use. We may be able to collect additional damages if we can prove the infringer acted willfully in the infringement of the university’s patent.
Enforcing your patent
If you’d like us to review your business’s patent infringement claim – and do so at no cost or obligation – you need to complete a Patent Infringement Inquiry. The GPC team will review the information you provide. If we determine that the patent (or patents) has been infringed, and that enforcement of the patent(s) is economically viable, we will develop and implement a unique patent enforcement strategy on behalf of the university. If you have questions, call us at 888-488-8178.