No matter how antagonistic parties may appear to be, the possibility of a commercial resolution should never be discounted.
Justin’s client designed and built remote operated electromechanical devices incorporating control and safety systems. He had done so all his working life. Indeed, together with his father, he had established one of the first local companies that specialised in the field. They had sold their company to a public entity, in whose hands the business flourished to become the market leader.
After some years, Justin’s client started designing again. He protected his innovations with patents, and manufactured small numbers of products. However, he started noticing that his new innovations were being incorporated into the market leader’s products. His opponent had much deeper pockets. It could manufacture and distribute high quality products in large volumes at prices that he could not match, and had tied up key distribution channels. Justin’s client considered that his patents were among his most valuable assets, and he commenced proceedings to enforce them, but that would not, of itself, secure his business.
In those circumstances, Justin helped his client start marketing his technology and patent portfolio to third parties, including foreign entities who were making inroads into the market. The client made no secret of his desire to sell or partner with someone. He knew his antagonist was watching, and he knew it liked his technology – after all it was using it! He also knew that it made a great deal of commercial sense for it to acquire the patent rights. Ultimately, the strategy worked. Discussions to settle the litigation concluded with a sale of the whole business and its patent portfolio to the antagonist, who went on to retain Justin’s client as a consultant. Both parties were better off as a result.