What Should You Expect From Patent Litigation?

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Patent litigation can sound like a scary thing. You will certainly want to hire a patent lawyer, and it's also good to learn what you're likely to face. People planning to sue or facing suits should understand these 5 components of patent litigation.


Much of the law is about what you can document. However, patent law is extremely focused on paperwork. Claims usually center on USPTO patents. Sometimes, they will include patents from other countries, especially if these can attest to the origination of a design.

If you hold the patent in question, gather all the paperwork you can about it. Make lots of copies to share with your patent lawyer, too. Save the original documents in the most secure place available to you.

Similarly, try to gather as much contemporaneous evidence as possible. If you're going after an infringer, for example, save copies of their pamphlets and websites as evidence.

Constitutional and Case Law

Patent law is embedded in the U.S. Constitution. Likewise, there is a lot of subsequent case law. Every case needs to have a legal theory, even if it's as simple as filing a patent and identifying infringement.

Generally, defendants without patents have to be a little heavier into Constitutional and case law. They might try to demonstrate, for example, a claimant's patent is prior art, meaning there were pre-existing versions of it long before the claimant receive a patent.


Patent courts tend to have a lot of deadlines. Prepare yourself for keeping track of deadlines for submitting documents, sending in evidence, going to hearings, and so on.


Each side will have the right to demand relevant evidence from the other. If a company did research related to the patent, you have the right to see it. Similarly, you have the right to demand emails, texts, and phone logs of discussions involving the patent in question.

Be aware, however, you can't demand everything. At the same time, don't be stunned if the other side sends you thousands or even millions of documents to try to bury you in work.

Your patent lawyer will have a process for getting through it all. Don't fret.


Individuals and organizations are often highly invested in their patents. Patent litigation often goes on for years, and it frequently leads to appeals. Unless the two sides quickly angle for a settlement, a patent lawyer assumes they'll be dealing with a case for a while.

For more information on patent litigation, contact a lawyer near you.