Chapter 10

Avoiding an Infringement Lawsuit through Patent Clearances

The introduction of a new product often generates great angst in a company. Many of the reasons for this stress were mentioned previously in Chapter 1. However, there is yet another factor that causes concerns—the fear of a lawsuit.

In today’s litigious times, suits arise in multiple ways. There is the product liability lawsuit resulting from the claim that someone suffered some sort of injury, whether real or not, from your product or service. There is the lawsuit filed by a government agency. These could be the result of regulatory actions, such as an alleged failure to meet an emissions or safety standard. Suits against various power companies often fall into the former category while actions commenced against automotive companies are frequently the result of the latter. Then, there are the lawsuits that are politically motivated and are based on novel concepts of law. For example, several years ago, various municipalities filed lawsuits against firearms manufacturers claiming that the sale of the firearms resulted in criminal shootings. And, there are the patent infringement lawsuits.

Attorneys specializing in patent litigation and their clients are hoping to gain financially from your product’s revenues. Moreover, they are often hoping, not only to extract large licensing fees and damages from your company for their clients, but also to prove that your company willingly infringed upon their clients’ patents, ...

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