Patent Litigations details are vitally important to protecting intellectual property. Plenty of creativity occurs within the technology industry, and without patents, managerial cadre say they could never justify spending fortunes on new products. However, patent wars have predominantly encompassed the Intellectual Property landscape since time immemorial. The early days of Industrial revolution coupled with the advent of a plethora of modern age inventions witnessed a remarkable surge in the need for intellectual property protection, especially related to inventions. The most famous inventors of modern history based their fortune on casual legalities that were concurrent with their written claims.
A classic example may be the case of Thomas Edison whose fame can essentially be attributed to the numerous law suits associated with the incandescent light bulb. Alexander Graham Bell’s prominence in the telecommunication industry can also be attributed to the series of lawsuits he was engaged in. With the advent of science and technology, a plethora of creations have kept patent litigators on their heels with regard to establishing the novelty in innovations pertaining to airplanes, automobiles, pharmaceuticals and smartphones amongst various others.
Tech companies like Google, Apple, and Samsung have so many patents, and so many patents are necessary to make a functioning product, that nobody is sure exactly when someone is infringing upon someone else’s Patent Litigations details. In general, it’s a pretty safe bet that at least one thing in the competitor’s product might infringe on at least one patent in such a large amass. A sufficiently large patent amass potentially enables a company to sue almost any of its competitors at any time.
Apple launched a first strike against Samsung. Apple sued primarily for patent infringement, among other claims. Apple’s objective was to obtain a permanent injunction to stop Samsung from selling phones in the United States. An injunction would be a fatal blow to Samsung’s business, and would give Apple free rein over the US market with its iPhone. If all the phones are running iOS, then they aren’t running Android. Samsung’s retaliation was to launche countersuits in the US, as well as South Korea, Japan, Germany, French, Italy, Great Britain, Australia, Holland, and the Netherlands. Among other patent infringement claims, Samsung argued Apple’s products infringed on 3G patents owned by Samsung. Google stepped in on Samsung’s side, supporting Samsung with testimony and even paying some of Samsung’s legal fees. The patent war between the companies escalated to global proportions.
Total war raged between the two companies for years. By August 2011 Apple and Samsung were litigating 19 cases in nine countries. In July 2012 they were locked in over 50 ongoing lawsuits in countries all over the world.
The patent litigation between Apple and Samsung had spiraled out of control. Apple’s initial suit had become just one small puzzle piece in a large and complex global conflict.
As enunciated in the case of Pursche v. Atlas Scraper & Engineering Co. C.A.Cal., 300 F.2d467, “Invention is a concept; a thing involved in the mind; it is not a revelation of something which exists and was unknown, but a creation of something which did not exist before, possessing elements of novelty and utility in kind and measure different from and greater than what the art might expect from skilled workers.”
Before establishing the synthesis between an invention and its acclaim through a legal recourse, we set out a brief of the Utility, novelty, Non-obviousness in a patent.
The utility requirement is one which demands a proper response to three questions:
- Does the invention do anything?
- Does the invention work?
- Does the invention possess some moral utility?
In the recent years it is seen that as long as a patent serves some legal utility, the requirement of moral utility is met. However, the invention still needs to have some substantial utility, i.e., an element of usefulness.
In the case of Juicy Whip Inc. v. Orange Bang, Inc., 185 F.3d 1364, 1365 (Fed. Cir. 1999) the Plaintiff had secured a patent on a ‘post-mix beverage dispenser’, which was used to make fountain drinks at a bar. The patent litigations at issue was for a ‘post-mix beverage dispenser’ designed to look like a ‘pre-mix beverage dispenser’ stimulating the appearance of a dispensed beverage and resistant to bacterial growth.
In this matter, the defendants claimed that the patent held by juicy Whip was invalid as the invention lacked utility. Though the lower court agreed that ‘the invention lacked utility because its purpose was to increase sales by deception’, the Federal Circuit court found that the Juicy Whip invention met the utility requirement.
As long as an invention actually does something, it satisfies the utility requirement.
The novelty requirement is central to the concept of Patents. After all, we would not call something an invention unless it is new.
For example Mr.Chris invents a rotating table fan which is identical to one already in the market. In this case, it would be odd to say that Mr. Chris has invented anything at all. Mr. Chris’s rotating table fan is nothing new. If an identical rotating table fan has already been patented in a foreign country, Mr. Chris’s product is not novel. If an identical product was described in a magazine 6 months prior to Chris’s creation, Mr. Chris’s product is not novel.
It is essential to establish the newness in a product in order to secure patent protection for the same.
It is easy to accidentally conflate non-obviousness and novelty.
If the invention would be obvious to anyone involved in the same area as the inventor, there can be no statutory monopoly granted in the form of a patent. When it is possible for someone skilled in the relevant field of technology and familiar with the subject matter to have invented something with comparative ease had he tried, such an invention would be novel but still obvious to that person. Keeping in mind, the goal of encouraging innovation, there would be no need to encourage people to invent the obvious.
One of the most celebrated cases on non-obviousness is ‘Graham v. John Deere Co., 383 U.S. 1 (U.S. 1966)’, where the non-obviousness requirement was in dispute. As set out in the case, the test for the non-obviousness contains a three part analysis:
The scope and content of the prior art are to be determined.
Differences between the prior art and the claims at issue are to be ascertained and.
The level of ordinary skill in the pertinent art is to be resolved.
For example: Liza is an animal lover and came up with the idea for a harness which would hold a domestic pet in place, while allowing for full mobility of the head and neck. Mary who works at a Veterinarian’s office elsewhere came up with the exact same idea a few months ago. Nina who volunteers at an animal shelter also has the same idea for the harness. If these three independent inventors think up, and make harnesses which are substantially the same, the invention might be novel to each but not meet the non-obviousness requirement. After all, with so many people simultaneously coming up with the same product, these are cases in which people have had a ‘blinding flash of the obvious’ that render something that would ensue as a true invention in the first place.
The Supreme Court clarified the method for determining non-obviousness in KSR v. Teleflex, 550 U.S. 398 (2007) stating that the prior art does not need to teach, suggest or motivate a combination, but that this is a useful addition to an application of the Graham factors.
Patent Litigations details to note that all patent wars have commonalities. Some factors and the pros/cons of mitigating a patent war are listed below:
Patent Litigations details wars are expensive
The high tech companies are usually not interested to gamble everything on an expensive and uncertain patent war. The threat of retaliation deters companies from aggressively suing each other to collect damages. Even if one company actually did use another company’s ideas, the threat of the retaliatory countersuit can make it irrational to sue. Both sides risk wasting immense amounts of money and time while their competition invests in innovation and marketing. Regardless of the outcome such a patent war would be cripplingly expensive.
However it is only advisable to file for vested patent rights when the cost and logistical demands set out an advantageous outcome that is decisive enough and speedy enough to be commercially viable.
Patent Litigations details war outcomes are unpredictable.
Patent Litigations details infringement lawsuit can result in unpredictable results. A permanent injunction to stop the manufacture and use of a key product in the global market can be appalling. However a successful patent lawsuit can give the winner market dominance and eliminate unwarranted competition. Unintended consequences can be financially humbling.
Protecting Market Share
A company that has invested enough to develop a profitable revenue stream would take all measures necessary to keep it on-going. Companies often tend to protect inventions in areas that they have no plans to develop. Every company would try to protect their market standing in accordance with the market trends and thereby patent infringement lawsuits will only act as an incentive to uphold their inventions.
Protecting Product Features and Exclusivity
If a product category requires certain key features or narrow functionalities, a company will protect their exclusivity. For example in the situation of a leap forward in technology as the up gradation in data network from 3G to 4G cellular, there is an imbibed need to convince the members of trade and industry to agree to the terms and conditions, and potentially prevent or eliminate competition. If not the best route of redressal would be litigation.
Slow a Competitor Down
Intellectual Property is the most valuable asset for any Company. In order to effectively slow a competitor down, a Company can recourse to a patent lawsuit against its competitor in an attempt to put it out of business. In the alternative most competitors are willing to make changes favourable to a company’s priorities.
Patent Litigations details It is often seen that a company can assert its IP rights over a competitor by merely creating a cloud of uncertainty over the competitor in order to potentially destabilise the competitor’s business structure. This is possible by taking advantage of litigation. A mere disruption can force a competitor to adjust its priorities, reallocate resources or even compensate the expenses rendered to pursue the lawsuit.
Generate Licensing Revenue
A successful patent litigation would almost always result in cross-licensing. Licensing agreements are often the fastest and most cost-efficient remedy to minimize the damages for the party affected in the litigation. Collaboration with a competing venture would strengthen the forte of an established business enterprise and render an advantage over its existing business structure Patent Litigations details.
Every business enterprise would work hard to avoid lawsuits. However, a successful litigation would not only be merit worthy to the victor but also act as a step up against the unwarranted competition. Vengeance is often more satisfying if not exacted immediately.
Whether Patent Litigations details wars lead to counterfactual results is actually hard to establish, simply because of the scarcity of empirical work in this field. The lack of empirical analysis may be explained by the fact that identifying Patent Litigations details wars in practice is far from easy as firms may file patents for several reasons than just trying to beat their rivals. It’s better to stand out and create the desired impact.