Mediation offers cost-effective resolution of IP disputes

IP Litigation can be prohibitively expensive for small companies who may have limited resources available.  Equally, for larger organisations, mediation can offer significant cost savings when compared to litigation, freeing up funds for other uses.

IP litigation vs. mediationIP disputes are often well suited to mediation.  For example, with a patent dispute involving competing products, the best solution may be to formulate a cross licensing agreement between the parties.

This is easier for a 3rd party mediator to help negotiate than for a court.

So why don’t more companies use mediation?

  • The parties involved prefer to feel that they are in a position of strength
  • Concern that by suggesting mediation you admitting a weak position and may encourage an aggressive approach by the opposition
  • Fears that mediation is a waste of time and money
  • Fears that the only solution from the mediation process will to admit they are in the wrong
  • If feelings are running strong the parties involved may struggle to avoid posturing and an aggressive approach

An experienced mediator can help to create an atmosphere where both sides of the dispute can reduce posturing and promote a sense of trust and openness, and a wish to find a resolution to the problem.

The UK IPO recently relaunched the IP Office Mediation Service with the aim of making the process of mediation more transparent and easier to access.

According to statistics from the WIPO Arbitration & Mediation Center a high proportion of mediation cases result in a settlement, and for the vast majority of disputes, mediation is far more cost-effective than arbitration or litigation.

James Sanderson says; “Mediation may not work, or be appropriate, in every case but it should not be ignored or considered as a sign of weakness.  All businesses need to consider the financial impact of litigation before going down that path.  If you consider another party to be in blatant infringement of your IP rights and want your day in court then we can help you outline your case and support you during the process.  If somebody else is claiming that you are infringing their IP a close examination of the case may mean that mediation can help you find a solution to the issue which is acceptable to both parties.”

For more information, or advice please contact Sanderson & Co.

Useful links:

UK IPO Mediation Service – http://www.ipo.gov.uk/ipenforce/ipenforce-dispute/ipenforce-mediation.htm

WIPO Arbitration & Mediation Center http://www.wipo.int/amc/en/

http://www.wipo.int/amc/en/mediation/why-mediation.html