Christiansburg, VA asked in Patents (Intellectual Property) for Virginia

Q: I have a patent problem. I am looking for a lawyer that would help me and compensated for the damages recovered.

I invented the machine and a research-based protocol that is being used without my permission. Large company is now selling my machines and using my research to sell a machine designed by me.

2 Lawyer Answers
Peter D. Mlynek
Peter D. Mlynek
  • Patents Lawyer
  • Moorestown, NJ

A: Well, I think that you are in luck. Patent litigation was typically not taken on a contingency basis, but after the NTP v RIM case, where the plaintiff attorney earned over $200 million on a $612M verdict, many more firms are looking at this. Typically, however, you should be ready to pay a litigation attorney $30K to $100K per month for the length of the litigation if our outcome is projected not to be in that neighborhood.

Now, there are some attorneys who will do a blend of hourly fee and deferred compensation. So, for example, you could pay the attorney only $300/hr + contingency instead of $600/hr.

Another alternative is to finance the litigation. There are a number of lenders who in exchange for a piece of the future cash flow will pay the lawyers for you. So, for example, the finance company will pay the $2M of attorney fees during the litigation in exchange for the first $10M from proceeds of the litigation. But you should know that in order to get that money for your attorneys, the litigation needs to be shovel ready.

Good luck!

Kevin E. Flynn
Kevin E. Flynn
  • Patents Lawyer
  • Pittsboro, NC

A: Your statement of the question did not explicitly say that you had a US patent. You won't be able to sue for patent infringement without a patent. It is not clear whether the large company took an idea that you shared with it or independently developed the same good idea to solve a particular set of problems.

Determining what your options are will require some time spent with an attorney familiar with patent/trade secret/contract litigation. It will be hard for you to attract a litigation firm to handle on some contingency or hybrid model unless you can explain the legal theory for recovery.

You may need to pay for some time with an attorney to get this ready to shop around for outsiders to help you.

I hope this helps.

Kevin E Flynn

Peter D. Mlynek agrees with this answer

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