A company that uses your invention is called a prospective “licensee.” We begin out-of-court negotiations by sending a notice letter to the prospective licensee. The letter identifies the patents and which products or services are using the patents.
When prospective licensees respond, they typically ask for evidence of infringement in the form of claim charts. This, in turn, can lead to a discussion of financial terms for a license. If a licensee does not respond to the letter, clients frequently ask us to file a patent infringement suit, where the patent owner asks a court to declare that the prospective licensee owes the patent owner money damages for infringement.
In most circumstances, we recommend starting patent licensing efforts with a letter instead of a lawsuit. However, as most inventors and patent owners know, large companies feel that they have no need to respect the intellectual property of other inventors. This is when filing a patent infringement suit is helpful – at this point, the prospective licensee can no longer ignore you since they are summoned into court.
In addition, a large number of lawsuits end with settlement, with the prospective licensee agreeing to pay for the use of an inventors’ patents. While we cannot guarantee or predict the outcome of your licensing efforts, we have helped inventors and patent owners receive licensing revenue for hundreds of their patents
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