What Universities Need to Know about Patent Infringement, Patent Enforcement and Patent Litigation

The U.S. Patent System: The Founding Fathers included the concepts of patents and copyrights in the original U.S. Constitution that was ratified in 1787. A patent is a time-limited monopoly granted to inventors by the U.S. government. This monopoly gives the inventor – be the inventor a person, business, university or other entity – the right to exclude others from manufacturing, selling or using a product that includes the patented invention, and the right to sue those who use the patented invention without the permission of the patent owner. When that happens, it’s called “patent infringement.”

Patent Infringement: Despite the monopoly granted by the federal government, patent infringement occurs every day. Subsequently, thousands of patent infringement lawsuits are filed in the U.S. every year. Patent infringement may be willful – the infringer knowingly infringed the patent – or it can be unintentional – the infringer essentially re-invented the patented invention and ended up using it in a product or service. In either event, patent infringement is patent infringement, and the university or other entity that owns the patent is entitled to compensation.

Patent Enforcement: Since patent infringement is not a crime, there are no Patent Police. It is the responsibility of the patent owner to identify and pursue any and all infringers. Patent enforcement is accomplished most often by filing a patent infringement lawsuit against the infringer in U.S. Federal District Court. Doing so is a lengthy and costly undertaking!

Patent Litigation: Second in cost only to anti-trust litigation, patent litigation is very expensive. It can cost from a $200,000 to $500,000 at the low end to $1 or $2 million or more at the high end! When a multi-million dollar corporation sues another multi-million dollar corporation for patent infringement, that is at least a fair fight. But when a university or non-profit organization has to sue a multi-million dollar corporation for patent infringement, that is most definitely NOT a fair fight!

Contingency Patent Enforcement:General Patent Corporation exists to level the playing field for the university (or inventor or small business or other organization with limited capital) that is the victim of patent infringement. General Patent will examine your claim of patent infringement, and if we believe you have a viable case, we will offer to represent the university on a 100% contingency basis. That means we both manage and finance a comprehensive patent enforcement campaign on behalf of the university. The university pays GPC nothing, we cover all litigation costs, and we are repaid by receiving an agreed-to share of the proceeds of the litigation. It costs the school nothing and it is risk-free to have General Patent evaluate your claim of patent infringement. Complete a Patent Infringement Inquiry or call us at 888-488-8178.