(An Extensive Collection of Patents Can Deter Lawsuits Altogether is a follow-up to our article, Defensive Patent Portfolio Strategies.)
Technology companies often use defensives patents to prevent and/or settle litigation. The strategy involves accumulating an extensive collection of patents to use as protection in the event a competitor attempts to file an infringement suit. Like the Soviets and the United States during the Cold War, competitors often partake in “patent arm races” with neither side ever actually planning on pressing the metaphorical button, since doing so would set off a chain reaction of law suits leading to the “mutual assured destruction” of both parties.
A well-organized defensive patent portfolio strategy can often help protect your intellectual property—and those patents can deter lawsuits. The legal benefits can include:
- The ability to force a settlement quickly by threatening a countersuit
- Preventing competitors and trolls from applying for similar patents
The “patent arms race” is typically seen as an expensive game only the “big boys” can play. (Google’s recently spent over $12.5 billion to acquire Motorola Mobility and its portfolio of roughly 17,000 patents to “help protect the Android ecosystem.”) However, it’s worth noting that even having a couple of patents can be enough to level the playing field. In Smartflash vs. Apple, Apple was ordered to pay $533 million for patent infringement to patent licensing firm Smartflash LLC.
The moral of the story is, whether you’re a superpower with a patent arsenal large enough to “blow your competitors up” several times over, or a relative newcomer simply looking for respect, having the option to “go nuclear” on a competitor is a very powerful deterrent.
Whether you’re looking to add to your own arsenal or are looking to acquire your first patent; give Cook Alex a call for a free consultation to discuss intelligent strategies that our firm can implement to protect your company’s assets.