Providing appropriate protection for your concepts is just one part of running a successful business. But when working to secure your market share, as well as your bottom line, you must remain alert to those who try to sneak in to claim the benefits of your labor.
In some cases, patent trolls may be waiting to sue your company for infringing on their conceptual rights, regardless of whether what you offer has anything to do with their patent in question. Since patent litigation can be complex, time-consuming and costly, many companies simply agree to settle, rather than engaging in a seemingly unnecessary court battle. However, it is possible that a company claiming to have a patent on your product does not hold its weight in actual worth.
Filing bankruptcy after suing for patent infringement
After over a decade of trolling companies who were diligently developing their concepts, Shipping & Transit LLC filed bankruptcy. The patent troll filed more than 500 lawsuits over the years. Shipping & Transit LLC stated its entire worth of their 34 United States patents totaled only $1. However, the company reportedly collected more than $15 million in patent lawsuits it filed. This is just one example of how patent trolls make their money without ever pursuing product production or idea development and implementation.
What can you legally patent?
Though there is often confusion between varying types of intellectual property protection, you may patent certain newly invented or discovered products or ways of doing things. This may include a:
- Method or process
- Manufactured good
- Chemical compound
Though the United States Patent and Trademark Office may make an exception in some circumstances, your request for a patent must pertain to a complete description of what you are patenting because a suggestion or idea in and of itself is not patentable. Keep in mind that people and companies who lack ingenuity may try to thwart your progress. But if you protect your options while remaining focused on offering viable solutions for consumer needs, you will probably come out ahead in the long-run.