FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is your fee structure?
We do not charge an hourly or daily fee, nor do we bill for expenses. When we agree to manage and finance a patent enforcement campaign, we work on a 100% contingency basis. That means we accept no money from the patent owner. We engage a law firm to try the patent infringement litigation, and we cover all expenses (known as “disbursements”). We are repaid for the expenses we laid out on behalf of our client, and we then receive what we call a “success fee.” We share in all revenue generated by the litigation (awards made by a court, settlements reach with a defendant, and royalties and licensing fees) are shared among the patent owner, General Patent and other parties to the litigation per an agreed-to formula.
2. What procedure do you use in determining whether to take a claim?
We discreetly analyze your claim of patent infringement by reviewing the patent itself for any significant problems with the validity and enforceability of the patent. We then estimate what damages could be recovered through successful patent infringement litigation. Based on the result of this analysis, we make a preliminary decision as to whether a patent enforcement campaign is a viable option for us to pursue.
3. What does this evaluation process cost?
No charge. We charge nothing to analyze your patent infringement claim.
4. How long will it take to complete your analysis of our business’s patent?
That depends on the amount and the quality of the documentation you provide to us. The preliminary evaluation of your claim of patent infringement ( No. 2) usually takes a few weeks. Upon successful completion of this evaluation, we may issue a Letter of Intent to you that details the following steps we will take on your behalf.
5. What information do you need to conduct your analysis of my patent infringement claim?
a. U.S. Patent Nos. of the patent(s) you believe has been infringed.
b. File wrapper (the patent prosecution file history), if available. If you do
not have it, we will order it from the Patent Office, but it will save us time if you have it.
c. Description of the allegedly infringing device or method. This could
include pictures, schematics, drawings, diagrams, technical specifications,
data sheets or an actual sample of the product.
d. Copies of any correspondence between your business (or on behalf of your business) and the alleged infringer(s)
e. Copies of any license agreement(s) for any of your business’s patents
6. Does General Patent Corporation have attorneys on staff?
Absolutely. We have an in-house Legal Department that is staffed with experienced attorneys and patent litigators, and we have relationships with patent litigation attorneys and law firms that we bring in as needed.
7. Is GPC a law firm?
No. We have an in-house legal staff that analyzes the patent infringement claims that are sent to us. Our in-house staff manages, coordinates and assists the law firms that actually try the patent infringement litigation. Our in-house staff also conducts licensing and settlement negotiations.
8. How do you choose law firms to represent a client?
We select a law firm based on its reputation, availability, expertise in the patent’s technology and location, as well as if there are any conflicts of interest. And, of course, we consider our own experience working with them over the years with other patent owners.
9. If there is no infringement, can you sell or license our business’s patent?
Should we discover there is no infringement or a patent enforcement campaign is not practical, we can – if you wish – try to sell or license your business’s patent through our patent brokerage subsidiary.
10. Does General Patent prepare patent applications?
We do not file or prosecute patent applications for businesses that are not clients. However, if your business become a General Patent client, as part of our comprehensive Suite of Services, we may file and prosecute further patent applications including broadening reissues, continuations, continuations-in-part (CIP) and reexaminations on your behalf, should any of these be applicable and appropriate.
11. What if a foreign company is infringing my patent?
When a foreign business manufactures and sells a product covered by a U.S. patent outside of the U.S., we cannot enforce it. However, if a foreign business imports infringing products into the U.S., we can pursue them for patent infringement on products sold in the U.S.
12. What if my business’s patent has expired?
We may still be able to collect past damages for infringement if the patent expired less than six years ago.
13. What if my business’s patent has not yet been issued?
We can only enforce an issued U.S. Patent. However, as soon as your company’s patent is issued – and you still believe it is being infringed – contact us again and we will take a look at your infringement claim.
14. What if only part of a claim is infringed and not the rest?
The whole claim has to be infringed or there is no infringement.
15. What if our business is already in litigation? Can General Patent assist us or take over the litigation?
We prefer to handle a patent infringement claim from the beginning and manage it through to its conclusion. However, in some instances we will consider stepping in and taking over existing litigation.
16. How do you know if our business’s patent has been infringed?
Infringement occurs when every limitation of at least one claim is found in the accused product or process. Once we’ve seen your business’s patent and taken a look at the allegedly infringing product(s), we can share with you if we believe your business’s patent has been infringed and if we believe we can prove it in court.
17. If I believe our business’s patent has been infringed, should we try to enforce it immediately or wait for damages to accumulate?
You should act right immediately and NOT wait for damages to accumulate. If you delay enforcing patent rights, you could lose them.
18. Can our business legally use it own patent in a product or service?
A patent is the right to exclude others from using your patented invention. However, your b usiness’s right to practice its invention may could be affected by patents owned by others. You should ask a patent attorney or patent agent to do a “freedom to operate” analysis for you.
19. Can another patent infringe our business’s patent?
No. Patents do not infringe other patents. Only products or processes can infringe a patent.
20. Should we contact a suspected infringer or wait until we have representation?
Contacting a suspected infringer could have adverse consequences. Don’t do anything before you discuss your business’s patent infringement claim with General Patent or you seek the advice of an experienced IP attorney.
21. What differentiates General Patent from a law firm?
Since General Patent is not a law firm, we can provide additional services a law firm does not provide. We will engage a law firm to litigate your infringement patent lawsuit, so when you chose General Patent to enforce your business’s patent, you get the services of a law firm with General Patent managing and financing the entire process, and providing the additional programs in our Suite of Services.
22. How long will it be before our business sees some cash?
It usually takes 18 to 24 months for a patent infringement lawsuit to be resolved. It can take longer if the case is large or complex.
23. What is General Patent’s track record?
We measure our success in a straightforward manner. How have we done in terms of producing cash settlements for our clients? On that basis, we have been very successful!