Litigation is often a necessary component of working in intellectual property. The proof is in the ever-increasing number of suits filed. But heading to court doesn’t need to be your default answer for every problem that arises.
Patent lawsuits have risen 9% from the same stretch last year, and indicators suggest that trend will continue. Going to court is sometimes a necessary step, but you could use other methods to come to terms.
The impact arguments can have on relationships, business deals and innovations can be hard to convey in a courtroom. This is where alternative dispute resolution can come into play. Mediation and arbitration within the world of intellectual property (IP) can offer many benefits:
- Experience: Your average court audience may not have much experience with patent law, and your case might rely on a nuanced approach. You and your legal aid could exercise more of a say through the process while working with like-minded professionals.
- Privacy: Keep business details private by working behind closed doors and using non-disclosure agreements that can benefit both parties. Most information that comes up in court becomes part of the public record.
- Comprehensive: Sometimes litigation has to handle a range of jurisdictions and courts, while alternative means could provide a blanket decision. This can save you from inconsistent judgments and appeals.
Mediation is usually a more collaborative approach than the strict formalities of a courtroom allow. A mediator presides in place of a judge. Their job is to find a settlement rather than levy a ruling. You could enforce any agreements as a contract.
Arbitration is a process where you submit your case to an individual or panel who can then render an informed decision. You rely on the arbiter’s knowledge to hand down a final, binding decision for your situation. Committing to arbitration may leave you unable to seek litigation on this specific matter in the future.
Jumping to a lawsuit may not always be your best option, but heading unprepared into resolution without a plan may not be much better. Work closely with experienced help, and you could develop answers to your questions concerning IP disputes.