When you're in business for long enough, and your industry is competitive enough, you're almost certainly going to run into some conflict over intellectual property sooner or later. With everyone in your sector looking to develop similar products and market them to similar audiences, some overlap is inevitable. Eventually, you're going to have disputes over patents.
Part of the challenge of mastering IP law is knowing how to choose your battles.
This doesn't necessarily mean every single dispute is worth fighting tooth and nail. Part of the challenge of mastering IP law is knowing how to choose your battles. Which patent disagreements are worth taking to court and fighting to the bitter end, and which ones are best resolved early?
Conflict resolution can benefit everyone
If you have a problem with another company involving patent law in Australia, the best course of action is usually to resolve it peacefully. For example, according to Gizmodo Australia, Waymo and Uber recently reached an agreement to settle an issue over an Uber light detection and ranging (LIDAR) device that allegedly infringed on a Waymo patent.
"Uber has assured the court in statements made under penalty of perjury that it no longer uses and will not use that device," a Waymo spokesperson said. "So we have narrowed the issues for trial by dismissing the patent claims as to that device."
Waymo reserves the right to refile a suit later if the issue comes up again, but for now, the dispute is settled, and both sides have saved a lot of time and money not going to court.
When is it time to back down?
Resolving conflicts is usually a win-win proposition, but it's often easier said than done. It can be hard to accept that, even when intellectual property law in Australia is on your side, the right move is to back down.
IP Australia advises that it might be good to settle a case when it's difficult to prove your ownership of your IP rights, or if the infringement isn't obvious to a third party. You might also want to back down if the cost of going to court outweighs the damages you'd be seeking in a trial.
Get some advice from the IP law experts
Sorting out these messy intellectual property disputes is often difficult, especially for recent startup founders who have never been in situations like this before. It's only natural to consider reaching out for some professional help.
Luckily, at Alder IP, we're available to lend you a hand. Our team of patent lawyers in Sydney can provide all sorts of useful advice about protecting your IP and dealing with disputes as they come up. Contact us if you're in need of some legal guidance in this area.