A patent can be defined as ownership of an idea, product, a process or a tool. According to patent laws, no one is allowed to use any patent without the permission from the owner. For a person to use your patent, he or she must pay for it to avoid unnecessary lawsuits. If the individual decides to use a patented invention without the knowledge of the owner, he or she is said to commit a crime known as patent infringement. Patent infringement simply means using or selling a patented idea or product without getting a permission from the patent owner. If caught, the owner may either choose to file a lawsuit discouraging the infringing person to stop him or her or get compensation for the crime. If the claims for infringement is successful, the infringing party might be required to pay the owner large sums of money. If you are a small business owner, an entrepreneur or just an individual with a great income generating idea, contact NK Patent Law firm today for more advice related to patents and patent infringement. To get the idea of what this means, here are the five business patents that have generated millions of dollars 1. Nokia gained $1 billion from Apple Nokia sued Apple for infringing its copyright forcing Apple to pay up to $1 billion. Moreover, Apple has to pay Nokia $13 for every iPhone gadget they sell. Apple Company has sold a 100 million iPhones devices from the day they were launched, meaning that Nokia has been enjoying the benefits since 1999, a year they filed a patent. As you might already know, Apple is more popular compared to Nokia, but since it filed a patent, it has and will continue benefiting from every sale Apple makes. 2. Apple gained $283 million from Samsung Apple filed a $2 billion lawsuit against Samsung for violating its copyright. The verdict didn’t favor Samsung, and they ended up paying Apple up to $290 million. Apple claimed that Samsung used some of its patented features that include tap from search, finger tap to zoom text and slide to lock. Apparently, these are some of the simplest features you can find on any smartphone. But since Apple had the patent in place, no one had to use it and that is the reason, they were allowed to file a lawsuit that generated up to $290 million besides billions they make every year.
3. ViaSat gained $283 million from SSL Broadband Satellite ViaSat sued SSL Broadband Satellite for patent infringement. The final verdict favored ViaSat and SSL Broadband Satellite ended up paying up to $283 million. The amount was later decreased to $100 million by the U.S. District Judge. SSL were required to pay ViaSat 40 million dollars up front and pay the remaining amount which was $60 million in quarterly installments for a two-and-a-half-year period. While this might seem smaller than what Apple and Nokia received, it was the largest settlement ever in this sector. 4. Stryker gained $228 million from Zimmer Stryker sued Zimmer, a medical technology maker for copyright violation that generated up to $228 million. A Jury from Michigan found Zimmer guilty of infringing up to three patents that were owned by Stryker. The court ordered them to pay $70 million in the approximated amount that was stolen. Later, a U.S district judge increased the amount to $228 million because the court found them guilty of willfully infringing a patented product. 5. Valve technology – Paul Brown (inventor) sold valve technology for $13M Paul Brown developed valve, a technology that enables liquids to be stored upside down without leaking out of the bottle. After many attempts, he perfected the technology, patented it and licensed it to large companies such as NASA, Gerber, and other food as well as cosmetic companies. In the year, 1995, he let go of his idea for $13 million. Per many sources, he could have earned more if he made a deal to receive some percentage of what the company that used his technology sells. Patent infringement is one of the most popular crimes affecting large businesses all over the globe. Also, it is one of the tactics companies have used to gain extra revenues from infringing parties as well as authorized users. Point being, a patent can lose its value or generate more income depending on the steps you take to protect it. And that is the reason you are required to work hand in hand with an attorney. The Bottom Line A patent can either earn you millions or ruin your reputation depending on the steps you take to secure it. Because it is a very good idea worth implementing, someone can take advantage of it, steal and use it to develop a better idea that you might not have thought of. While this might not ruin you immediately, the infringing party will be making more money that according to patent law, should be yours. And if you don’t make the right steps to claim ownership, he or she might develop a better version of it, patent it and claim full ownership, making it impossible for you to file a claim. As you can see in the five cases mentioned above, most successful companies such as Nokia, Apple see a patent as a way of gaining wealth and will sue you for copyright violation no matter how small it is. That is because, owning a patent itself is like owning a property worth millions and the last thing you want is, letting someone who didn’t help you achieve it to use it without your permission.