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2 big retailers settle business litigation over patent claims

Patent infringement suits are a big source of business litigation, both in Florida and nationwide. Recently, two major drugstore chains have been in business litigation regarding a patented technology for filling prescriptions from mobile phone scanners. The Walgreen Co., the country’s largest drugstore chain, sued CVS, another major retailer, for infringing on its patented technology.

In a settlement reflected by a Nov. 25 filing, CVS agreed to stop using the patented program and Walgreens agreed to drop the suit, with each party absorbing its own costs. The infringement suit had been filed in the federal district court in Delaware, probably due to one or both of the corporations having its corporate filing in Delaware. The program in question runs on iPhones and Android phones, the two largest mobile phone platforms currently used.

Most suits don’t settle so easily or with so little economic damage to either party. Patent litigation can drag on and sap each party of substantial time, money and human resources. The case was apparently reviewed carefully behind the scenes by CVS and its legal counsel.

It was likely determined that it would be difficult for CVS to deny the actual use of the patented program. It may be that the patent was issued after CVS had started using it or that the company did not know of the patent. In any event, counsel does its business client a great service whenever it can advise the cessation of litigation under favorable terms without significant expenditures.

It is appropriate to do that where the chances of winning the litigation are low. In that way, experienced counsel has saved the client substantial resources by drawing the business litigation to a quick and satisfactory conclusion. The defendant will probably be able to purchase a license to use a rival patented technology to achieve the same results. Because patent litigation largely deals with federal law, the same general principles and procedural requirements apply in Florida as well as all other states.

Source: Bloomberg Business Week, “Walgreen, Redskins, Dotcom: Intellectual Property“, Victoria Slind-Flor, Nov. 28, 2014

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