Innovative Florida entrepreneurs might design and patent products that competitors buy and include in their branded offerings. Expectations for the competing brands to pay licensing fees are par for the course in the corporate world, but collecting those fees and avoiding infringement can be a tricky business.
In November of 2017, Forbes published an update on an ongoing disagreement between technology power players Apple and Samsung. In the previous year, according to the article, the U.S. Supreme Court had decided in favor of Samsung, saving the company $399 million, or at least putting a hold on a previous judgment until a lower federal court rehears the design patent case.
According to Forbes, the dispute went back to a patent infringement claim Apple had made against Samsung, expecting the latter to relinquish all profits to the former, given the alleged intellectual property theft. The Supreme Court's short answer was, "No." Its longer answer relates to the misapplication of a 19th century law for 21st century technology.
What innovative business owners in the southern U.S. learn from the discourse is intellectual property rights can be murky waters. FindLaw helps entrepreneurs make their way through the obscurity with insight into patent infringement.
Noting that intellectual property cases do not come without extensive cost and are not often resolved quickly, FindLaw encourages innovators to keep a positive perspective. Infringement litigation provides creatives with an avenue to protect their investment: "A patent lawsuit allows the patent owner to sue any person or business who makes, sells, uses, or imports the invention into the U.S."
FindLaw stresses whether an infringement is "literal" or "similar," entrepreneurs have a means of recourse if they feel a competitor has infringed a patent they own. Since strong defenses include the idea that "the patent itself is invalid," inventors should do their research and know the facts so they are well prepared for their day in court.