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   Can a patent assignee be forced to license patent?
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   Author  Topic: Can a patent assignee be forced to license patent?  (Read 558 times)


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Can a patent assignee be forced to license patent?
« on: May 7th, 2007, 1:49pm »
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Here's a presumably age-old question,
We're thinking of creating a product-service that is close to but does not seem to infringe, as far as I know, on an existing patent. However, to save ourselves future hassles, we're thinking of trying to license that patent anyway and reduce our profits, obviously. The current patent holder has assigned it to a company that is producing and selling a product-service that can be seen as in the same competitive area as ours would be.  
There also is not any way to get into that area without that one patent. It is really really broad, bordering on the way-too-obvious to have been granted, but it was granted.
1. Can they choose to not license their patent, at any costs, or so unreasonable that it can't work for us, and effectively keep us out of that field, namely, are we Dead on Arrival?
2. Should we just go ahead and produce our product-service and wait until, and if, they sue us. They may not, after all, and try to settle then if they do?
3. Their patent seems quite broad and is likely to be challenged in court at some point, maybe even by us!. In fact, as it is, it could invalidate many products that simply send information over the Internet to a central server though it applies only to a specific industry where its use might be considered novel, with a stretch. Does that make any difference to the situation, namely don't worry about the patent and proceed and see what or if they do anything
4. By contacting them ahead of time, and risking their refusal to license to us, depending on your answer to 1 above, do we do more harm to ourselves? And do we open ourselves to stiffer penalties later if we proceed since now we've made it clear we are aware of at least that one patent we've been told we may infringe upon?
« Last Edit: May 9th, 2007, 10:04am by freddy46 » IP Logged
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