1. What is your fee structure?
We do not charge our clients an hourly fee, and we do not bill you for expenses. When we agree to assist an inventor in a patent enforcement campaign, we work on a 100% contingency basis. That means we accept no money from the inventor and patent owner. We engage a law firm to try the patent infringement litigation, and we cover all expenses (also known as “disbursements”). We receive a “success fee” if and when we secure a successful outcome for our client. All revenue generated by the litigation (awards made by the court, settlements reached with the defendant or defendants, and royalties and licensing fees) are shared by the inventor, General Patent Corporation, and other parties to the litigation per an agreed-to formula.
2. What procedure do you use in determining whether to take a case?
We initially examine the basis of your claim of patent infringement by reviewing the patent itself and the file wrapper for any significant problems with the validity and enforceability of the patent. We then evaluate what damages could be recovered through successful patent infringement litigation. Based on the result of this analysis, we make a preliminary decision as to whether a patent enforcement campaign is a viable option for us to pursue.
3. What does this evaluation process cost?
Nothing. We charge nothing to analyze your patent infringement claim.
4. How long will it take for you to complete an analysis of my patent?
This depends on the amount of data and the quality of the documentation we receive from you. The preliminary evaluation of your claim of patent infringement (FAQ No. 2) usually takes a few weeks. Upon successful completion of this evaluation, we may issue a Letter of Intent to you. This document details the following steps we will take on your behalf.
5. What information do you need to conduct your analysis of my patent infringement claim?
b. File wrapper (this is the patent prosecution file history), if available. If you do
not have it, we will order it, but it will save time if you have it.
c. Description of the allegedly infringing device or process/method. This could
include pictures, schematics, drawings, diagrams, technical specifications,
data sheets or an actual sample, if available.
d. Copies of any correspondence between you and the alleged infringers
e. Copies of any license agreements for any of these patents
6. Does General Patent Corporation have attorneys on staff?
Yes. We have an in-house Legal Department that is staffed with experienced attorneys and patent litigators. We also have relationships with patent litigation attorneys and law firms that we bring in as needed.
7. Is GPC a law firm?
No, we are not. We have in-house attorneys who analyze the patent infringement claims that are brought to us, and who manage, coordinate and assist the law firms that actually try the patent infringement litigation. Our in-house attorneys also conduct licensing and settlement negotiations.
8. How do you choose law firms to represent a client?
We select a law firm based on its reputation, availability, expertise in a specific technology and location, as well as if there are any conflicts of interest. And, of course, we consider our own experience working with them over the years with other inventors and patent owners.
9. If there is no infringement, will you still try to license my patent?
Should we discover there is no infringement or a patent enforcement campaign is not practical, we can – if you wish – attempt to license your patent through our patent brokerage subsidiary. We do charge an hourly-fee or monthly retainer plus a success fee to provide this service.
10. How do I find out about sales of infringing products?
If you have data on unit or dollar sales of the product(s) you believe is infringing your patent, please send it to us. If you do not have this information, we will obtain it as part of our patent infringement claim analysis.
11. Does General Patent prepare patent applications?
We do not file or prosecute patent applications for inventors who are not clients. However, if you become a General Patent clients, as part of our comprehensive Suite of Services, we may file and prosecute further patent applications including broadening reissues, continuations, continuations-in-part (CIP) and reexaminations, should any of these be applicable and appropriate.
12. Does GPC find buyers for patents?
Through our patent brokerage subsidiary, IPOfferings, we may be able to sell your patent for you.
13. What if a foreign company is infringing my patent?
If the foreign company manufactures and sells a product covered by a U.S. patent outside of the U.S., we cannot enforce it. However, if a foreign company imports infringing products into the U.S., we can pursue them for patent infringement on the products sold in the U.S.
14. What if my patent has expired?
We may be able to collect past damages for infringement of your patent if it expired less than six years ago.
15. What if my patent has not yet been issued?
We can only enforce an issued U.S. Patent. However, as soon as your patent is issued, and if you still believe it is being infringed, contact us and we will take a look at your infringement claim.
16. What if only part of a claim is infringed and not the rest?
The whole claim has to be infringed or there is no infringement.
17. What if I am already in litigation? Can General Patent assist me or take over my litigation?
We prefer to handle a patent infringement claim from the beginning, and then manage it through to its conclusion. However, in some instances we will consider stepping in and taking over existing litigation.
18. How do you know if my patent has been infringed?
Infringement occurs when every limitation of at least one claim is found in the accused product or process. Once we’ve seen your patent and taken a look at the allegedly infringing product, we can share our view with you as to if your patent has been infringed and if we believe we can prove it in court.
19. If I believe my patent is infringed, should I hurry to enforce it or should I sit and wait for damages to accumulate?
You should act right away and NOT wait for damages to accumulate. If you delay enforcing your patent rights, you could lose them.
20. Can I legally practice my own patent?
A patent is the right to exclude others from using your patented invention. Even if you have a patent, however, your right to practice your invention may be affected by patents owned by others. We recommend you talk to a patent agent or patent attorney who can do a “freedom to operate” analysis for you.
21. Can another patent infringe my patent?
No. Patents do not infringe other patents. Only products or processes can infringe a patent.
22. Should I write to suspected infringers or wait until I have representation?
Contacting a suspected infringer could have adverse consequences. Don’t do anything before you discuss your patent infringement claim with General Patent or you seek the advice of an attorney experienced in patent infringement litigation.
23. What makes GPC better (or different) than a law firm?
Since GPC is not a law firm, we will engage a law firm to litigate your infringement patent lawsuit. So when you chose to have General Patent enforce your patent, you get the services of a law firm with General Patent both managing and financing the entire process. You also receive a comprehensive package of support programs we call our Suite of Services.
24. How long will it be before I get some money?
It usually takes 18 to 24 months before a new patent infringement suit can be resolved – longer if the case is very large. However, resolution of your claim could take as long as three to five years if the case is especially complex or if the lawsuit goes to trial.
25. What is your track record? How often do you win and how often do you lose?
We measure our success by a very simple and straightforward means. How have we done in terms of producing cash settlements for our clients? On that basis, we have been very successful!