This is how a patent action lawsuit works (you know – without any especial legal expertise):
1. A challenge is filed to a company that may have violated a potential patent
2. A period of research is dedicated to formulating a defense
3. The claim settles or goes to court. These cases can result in hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars.
What is interesting in this age of entrepreneurship is that the “number of patent actions filed in the United States has tripled to more than 4,000 between 1991 and 2011, according to a PricewaterhouseCoopers study.”
What is also interesting is how Article One (a crowdsourcing company) is playing into the research aspect of the process. Article One has a crowdsourced staff of researchers who go through numerous public records looking for ways to settle patent conflict. According to Article One:
“In a sense, looking for patent research can be like looking for a needle in a haystack. By accessing our global research community, our clients have higher confidence that they have performed blue chip patent research to look for that needle. Our community’s work allows our clients to make better patent-related business decisions.”
The results are sorted algorithmically and the best reports are the ones that end up supporting potential conflicts.
Article One is already serving companies like Philips Electronics, Samsung, and RPX Corporation, among others and the company has only been around since 2008. Microsoft was one of its first subscribers.
In cases that settle for hundreds of thousands of dollars is compensating a researcher between $3,000 and $5,000 really a fair price? Also – is there any better way to go through the research process anymore than to cast the net wide?