Intellectual property — and its protection — can be an important contributor to a business’ success. In the aggregate, lost revenue from alleged patent infringement activity can implicate sizable financial totals. Not surprisingly, such lawsuits can also be hard fought.
There are several recent examples, perhaps most notably in the case of Apple Inc. and Samsung’s dispute over the intellectual property used in their smartphones. The patent litigation between those two business competitors took on a global aspect that lasted until August 2014, when the parties agreed to withdraw their claims in venues outside the United States. In another example, Samsung Electronics and Microsoft Corp. have a current dispute over whether certain patent royalties were paid.
As a recent commentator observes, the big players in litigation alleging antitrust violations or trademark and/or copyright infringement may sometimes have multiple lawsuits. That, in turn, might place them in seemingly contradictory positions, such as being co-defendants in one lawsuit but opposing parties in another.
Part of the explanation may be the global economy. Thanks to the Internet, a company is able to market its product across geographic lines. That presents the potential for disputes in states or jurisdictions outside a company’s place of incorporation. As a result, a lawyer that focuses on business litigation and matters of unfair competition is often required to stay current on various state and federal laws.
Depending on the jurisdiction, a different strategy may be required, such as financial recovery or injunctive relief. An attorney can help advise clients which strategy might be best suited to their unique circumstances and allegations of unfair competition.
Source: Reuters, “Apple lawyers to defend Samsung in Microsoft licensing dispute,” Alison Frankel, Sept. 10, 2014