Enriching Life Through Innovative Ideas SM

專利訴訟陷阱

長期以來,專利持有人多數利用起訴專利侵權索賠作為盈利手段的戰略。然而,在近期法庭裁決和訴訟表明的趨勢看來,技術領域快速發展,專利訴訟可能不值得如此大量的時間精神成本。其中一件值得大家思考專利訴訟是否符合成本效益的事件就是蘋果公司和三星電子公司的案例。 2011年,蘋果公司對三星提出了專利侵權訴訟,指控了三星一系列的產品,包括的Nexus S4G的史詩,的Galaxy S4G和三星Galaxy Tab共侵犯了七項蘋果的設計和實用專利。

裁決推翻

此後,兩家公司都被捲入了訴訟的官司,從加州到南韓的法院反覆的訴訟使雙方皆投入大量的資源。在八個月後,判決終於裁定。 2012年8月24日,陪審團裁決授予蘋果十億五千美元的損失賠償。陪審團裁定,三星違反了六項蘋果專利,包括iPhone的”反彈效應”(美國專利號7469381)和”點擊縮放”(美國專利號7864163)功能。然而,蘋果公司的法律上的勝利是短暫的。執政以來,蘋果一直遭受技術和法律挫折的困擾。法官露西H.蘇梅以重新審判和減少賠償來推翻了陪審團的裁決。美國專利和商標局(USPTO)甚至宣佈多項蘋果公司的專利無效。

問題依舊, 這樣繁復的專利訴訟官司是否符合成本效益?看來,蘋果三星訴訟案顯示了專利持有人在追求訴訟時應該警惕的代價。即使專利持有人獲判對其有利的裁決,該裁決仍有可能被更改或推翻上訴。因此,雖然專利權人在法律層面來說能夠成為贏家,對手依然能夠使這樣的勝利成為短暫的。拿三星與蘋果的案子來說,雖然蘋果在2012年贏得了陪審團的裁決,法官露西H.蘇梅卻在2013年11月推翻該裁決並降低損害賠償至四十五憶五百萬美元。蘇梅法官更進一步下令重新審計算其他進一步的損害,造成原本就已經漫長訴訟更顯得遙遙無期。

損害賠償的折衷

另外,專利訴訟甚至可能導致反效果。當專利持有人高估了自己專利權並起訴了顯著數量的專利則可能在法院裁決後最終空手而歸。當谷歌的摩托羅拉行動提出訴訟微軟,他們聲稱微軟侵犯了其專利,並要求微軟先支付四百億的違反摩托羅拉與無線通信和視頻壓縮的知識產權的特許使用費用。然而,訴訟的結過是摩托羅拉嚴重失望且事與願違的。美國地方法院法官詹姆斯羅伯特裁定微軟應支付摩托羅拉每年僅180萬美元的專利使用費,僅是摩托羅拉最初要求的一小部分。這個例子是專利持有人高估他們自己專利並決定夠過專利訴訟以取得大筆賠償金而錯估情勢的經典案例。以摩托羅拉對微軟作為一個例子來看,專利訴訟可能不再是一個有利可圖的策略。這樣的情形之下,法庭可以在評估專利重要程度的優先順序後撤銷專利持有人原先期望的高額賠償金,而僅售予適量賠償。

科技進步帶來的影響

專利訴訟過程當中的另一個困難是, 影響案件的結果某些外部因素可能是專利持有人所無法預見的。近日,美國專利商標局通知在蘋果曾起訴三星侵犯之一的其中一項專利為無效的。美國專利商標局在2013年宣佈蘋果的”滾動反彈”的專利無效,在此以前也同樣宣判蘋果的”雙指縮放功能”專利無效。這潮起潮落的外部發展必然的影響了蘋果訴訟三星的判決。這個案子可能會在最終裁決後重新開案,額外的再審也可能被駁回,訴訟程序將不間斷。

此外,法院在專利訴訟與科技快速進步成長的速度當中也是相當掙扎。即使專利持有人贏得了法律上的勝利,判決的影響可能因為審判的時間而變得無力或過時。拿蘋果訴訟三星情況來說,當蘋果或判三星侵權,三星已經推出了新一代的產品,而新一代的產品則已經取代了那些涉嫌侵權的舊產品。因此,訴訟根本不適用於某些專業技術的侵權糾紛。

總而言之,蘋果訴訟三星的情況充分表現了專利訴訟並不一定是有利可圖的作法。只單純擁有專利的發明權不能成為訴訟過程的最終辯護。此外,參與過程冗長的時間和昂貴的訴訟費用將大量消耗公司的資源,且將可能培育新的創新的時間拿來了捍衛過去的產品。因此,專利持有人應警惕訴訟的陷阱,並切實際的分析法庭程序的代價與其可能的結果。

FindLaw Network

What Our Clients Say

Starting a new business can be a bit scary. Aside from worries of failure, there’s also the hassle of making sure all legal paperwork are properly filed. I reached out to Mr. Wang (Tommy) because of his excellent reviews and reputation and I am so glad I did. He was thorough and meticulous in answering all of my concerns and took time to find out special laws and policies regarding the kind of business I am starting. I could focus on the daily practical side of starting my new office without worry because I felt Tommy was reliable and took my case seriously. My business is opened and it’s all been a smooth start because of Tommy’s help. I have plans to start another business venture in the next few years and I already know I’ll be coming back to Wang IP Law.

The Shindig W.

I came to Tommy for help reviewing a licensing agreement I had secured with a well-known manufacturer. Tommy made sure I understood all the details in the contract and he negotiated with the company to improve my side of the deal. I mentioned to Tommy at my first consultation that we were looking to expand throughout the US and were investing a lot of money to make a big entrance into the market. I did not think I would have my store open so soon but Tommy also has connections with the local area and realtors to help me secure the location for my first store in the Los Angeles area. Tommy works a lot with the local businesses and he understands how to transition from the Asian market to US market. Within 8 months my store was open for business and fully operating. I must recommend Tommy to any business owners looking for help with contracts and improving their side of the deal. Tommy has the knowledge and experience to make sure there is a smooth process to open for business here, and make sure that your company is set up for success.

LI H.

I think Tommy and his team by far considered the best people to work with in my 16 business years. Beside quick responses to all my inquiries, they also done things right and providing very professional solutions. I’m highly recommending Tommy and his firm to all business owners.

Calvin C.

I have been working on my Utility Patent for almost 4 years. I have hired and fired two very reputable IP firms because with all their expertise and reputation for being some of the top firms in IP Law, I felt a lack of connection and care in my product, time and financial investment. Then I found Tommy and his team. Tommy does not waste time. He and his team are professional and extremely thorough. After 4 years, I finally found a legal team that I felt spent the time to really understand the components of my utility patent. Tommy also very mindful of cost and how and where my money would be better spent. I really feel I am in great hands with Tommy and his team. They have been patient with my revisions. And most importantly, they made me feel that they fully understood the importance this patent is to me. It has been a great and comforting pleasure working with Tommy.

G.L.

Read All