In the event that the parties do not reach an agreement, one of the parties may decide to file a lawsuit to resolve the dispute. Clearly, most, if not all, parties to a patent-infringement lawsuit hire attorneys to represent them in the suit. However, parties should be prepared to help their counsel by responding to their attorney’s requests for information.

The first stage of litigation is the pre-suit investigation. After the pre-suit investigation is completed, the plaintiff will prepare and serve the complaint. The defendant will usually answer and may counterclaim.

Once the pleadings close, the parties will begin conducting discovery. The parties will also prepare and file preliminary and dispositive motions.

At some point the court will construe the patent claims and the parties will begin pre-trial preparation. (The various stages of the investigation will be discussed in subsequent blogs.)

If the parties do not decide to settle and the court does not settle any of the dispositive motions in favor of one of the parties, the trial will begin.

If either party is not satisfied with the outcome of the trial, the dissatisfied party may decide to appeal the case.

Please note that most patent-infringement cases, like most other forms of litigation, are settled before going to trial.