Home Archives May 2006 Lawsuit against Blackberry highlights intellectual property risks

Lawsuit against Blackberry highlights intellectual property risks

| Print |  Email
Monday, May 01, 2006

by Johnathan E. Mansfield, Schwabe, Williamson & Wyatt

The recent settlement of the NTP/Blackberry patent case caused a collective sigh of relief from thumb-typers everywhere. 

Though the risk of Blackberries going dark may have passed, the case highlights the need to manage intellectual property (IP) risks, not just for businesses that sell products incorporating intellectual property but for any business that uses products that may be covered by IP. If you are a manager or business owner, there are two significant IP risks that you should consider and prepare for — business asset loss and infringement litigation.

Business asset loss

Whether you realize it or not, most of the assets that a company uses in its business (other than real estate) incorporate someone’s IP.

The Blackberry case drove this point home to millions of businesspeople.  Business assets, including mechanical equipment, computers and software, may be covered by IP, including patents, copyrights and trademarks. If the owner of this IP is someone other than the vendor who sold or licensed the product, your business risks losing the use of these assets if a court finds infringement and enjoins the vendor from selling, and you from using, the product.

Infringement litigation

The number of patent and other IP infringement lawsuits continues to rise. While suits are filed against high-tech companies that are accused of making a product that infringes another’s patent, many lawsuits are also being filed against companies that aren’t traditionally considered to be part of the technology sector, such as food processors and tool manufacturers. 

One reason: Under the patent laws, a patent-holder can sue the seller, maker or user of an infringing product, or any of these. Until fairly recently, patent-holders often preferred to file a single lawsuit against the maker of an accused product rather than file a series of lawsuits against the customers, who are the users of the product. But increasingly, some patent-holders have adopted a “sue the customers” strategy on the theory that the customers have less of a stake in the product and are usually indemnified by the maker and as a result are more likely to settle instead of undertaking litigation.

The IP risks of asset loss and infringement litigation are not yet as inevitable as death and taxes. IP risks can be managed by planning. Smart managers know that they not only can but must manage business risks or the business risks will end up managing the business for them.

— Johnathan E. Mansfield,
Schwabe, Williamson & Wyatt
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

More Articles

Spring thaw

News
Thursday, April 17, 2014
Spring ThawBY JASON NORRIS | OB BLOGGER

The “polar vortex” of 2014 seems to have finally thawed and we believe this change in weather will bring more sunshine to the U.S. economy as well.


Read more...

Revolution in print, pixels and passion

News
Tuesday, March 11, 2014
RyanFrankNewsBY MARK BLAINE | OB BLOGGER

The publisher of the Emerald Media Group moves on, leaving a cutting edge media group that depends on business acumen for its survival.


Read more...

Wheel man

March 2014
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
BY LINDA BAKER

Les Schwab has put a premium on customer service since 1952, when legendary namesake Les Schwab founded the company with one store in Prineville. (Schwab died in 2007.) But if the corporate principles remain essentially the same, the world around this iconic Oregon business has changed dramatically.


Read more...

100 Best Companies to Work for in Oregon [VIDEO]

News
Monday, March 03, 2014

Screen shot 2014-03-03 at 11.26.47 AM

Check out interviews with employees from some of the 100 Best Companies to Work For in Oregon winners and find out what makes their company a great place to work.


Read more...

The more they change, the more they stay the same

March 2014
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
100-best-collageBY BRANDON SAWYER

The 100 Best Companies get more creative with perks and more generous with benefits; employees seek empowering relations with management and coworkers.


Read more...

The future of money

March 2014
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
BY JAKE THOMAS

An ancient institution moves slowly into the digital age. 


Read more...

Barrister bands

March 2014
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
IMG 4691BY LINDA BAKER

An intellectual property attorney by day, 48-year-old Stoll Berne attorney Tim DeJong is a singer and guitarist by night.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS