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Knowing how and when to resolve intellectual property disputes

Mobile phone technology is at the centre of one notable IP dispute.

If you're selling a product in a competitive marketplace against a host of rival businesses, there will probably be many situations where you think your intellectual property rights are being infringed upon. You might feel a natural inclination to go after every infringer, threatening to prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law, but this might not always be the best idea.

When is it really worth your while to initiate a heated IP dispute? It depends on how difficult and expensive the fight will be.

When is it really worth your while to initiate a heated IP dispute? It depends on how difficult and expensive the fight will be, versus how much value you stand to lose from the alleged infringement. This is something to evaluate on a case-by-case basis.

A prime example in the mobile industry

Patent protection in Australia can often come under fire in a competitive industry, and there are some situations where you clearly need to take action. For example: According to a Reuters report, computer chip maker Qualcomm recently got into a heated dispute with Apple over the chips they make for use in smartphones. Apple was using others companies' chips in some phones, and Qualcomm argued that the rival technology infringed on theirs.

This was a clear case where initiating a dispute was warranted, as smartphones account for a large part of Qualcomm's revenue, and the company stands to lose a lot of money if rival chip makers are able to gain competitive ground. In situations like this, the IP discrepancy is absolutely worth fighting over.

Crunch the numbers and evaluate whether your IP fight is worth fighting.
Crunch the numbers and evaluate whether your IP fight is worth fighting.

Drawing up an IP infringement strategy

Of course, not all IP issues are as serious as the Qualcomm/Apple standoff; some are of more questionable importance. That's why IP Australia recommends developing an "infringement strategy" for your business. This means rather than fighting every fight, you'll have a clear rubric for when to take action and when to hold back.

A good strategy includes a number of components. You should have a clearly identified list of what intellectual property you own, a strong procedure in place for detecting infringement and a reliable way of evaluating how much an infringement case could cost you. All of these elements together will help you make good decisions about selective enforcement. If you can't figure them out for yourself, there are patent lawyers in Sydney who can help.

That's where we come in at Alder IP. We have a team of experts on intellectual property law in Australia who will be happy to take up your case. We're committed to delivering tailor-made service that will fit the needs of your business.