Intellectual property disputes are crossing lawyer’s desk more frequently than ever before. Major cities such as Miami and New York have many law firms which deal only with these types of cases. Many times, these cases turn into bitter legal battles. Time after time, the cases come down to a few basic concepts.
When It Was Patented
Amazon received the patent on their one-click technology only days before taking Barn’s and Noble to court over a similar technology. While it is likely that both companies were developing their technology at the same time, Amazon applied for their patent first and thus received it first. The verdict of that case has not been released, but many similar cases have been decided by the issue date of the patents.
Who was Paying?
In another famous case, the designer of Bratz, as well as the manufacturing company, was sued by Mattel. The man who designed Bratz was still on Mattel’s pay roll when he gave the competition his designs. In many cases, including this one, the company who was paying the designer wins the suit.
Legal Gray Areas
Perhaps the hardest cases to determine are the ones where an idea or machine was only partial covered by patents. Often, someone can recreate almost the same technology, only redesigning the parts of which have patens, and not technically violate any paten laws. Because of this, when a technology is copied, it is hard to tell exactly what patens the duplicate manufacture broke.
It can be difficult to determine who is at fault, and even harder to win a dispute. Many cases come down to a few key piece of evidence.