As many of our readers here in Florida know, one of the aspects of operating a business is having to deal with the difficult legal matters that can sometimes arise. From small businesses to large corporations, having knowledgeable representation when dealing with these potential issues can often mean the difference between resolving the problem or facing contentious business litigation. And as some of our readers know, some litigation can become incredibly costly and long-lasting depending on the situation.
Such was the case for Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. and General Electric Co. who have been embroiled in a contentious legal battle since 2008 when GE first accused Mitsubishi of patent infringement on its wind-turbine technology. Because intellectual property, such as a patent, is governed by federal law, the two companies needed to either work out the issue together or take their case to federal district court.
It’s been nearly five years since the first complaint was filed with the U.S. International Trade Commission, but recently the two companies announced that they have finally decided to settle the infringement dispute and have agreed to allow each other to cross-license their products. For those unfamiliar with cross-licensing agreements, they grant two or more parties a license to the other party’s patented or copyrighted idea. Because litigation can become incredibly costly, cross-licensing agreements are usually sought in an effort to end a business dispute such as the one above for both parties’ sake.
Just like with any business legal matter, cross-licensing agreements are best discussed with a skilled attorney before proceeding with the process. That’s because, although the agreement is meant to avoid similar litigation in the future, if done incorrectly then both parties could find themselves in the same situation with the same problems as before.
Source: Bloomberg News, “Mitsubishi Heavy, GE Settle Wind Patent Infringement Cases,” Chisaki Watanabe, Dec. 16, 2013