I Was Served With an Intellectual Property Lawsuit Now What?

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Being sued can be one of the more stressful experiences that people endure. Your entire livelihood can be at stake.  After being served, there are serious deadlines you do not want to miss to best protect all your legal rights. Click here for more general information on what to do after being served with a lawsuit.

The Summons and Complaint

Intellectual property lawsuits involve patents, trademarks, trade secrets, and copyright.

An intellectual property lawsuit begins when someone alleges that their intellectual property is being used without permission by another individual or business. The plaintiff makes these allegations in a document called a “complaint” which identifies the parties involved and provides the factual and legal allegations that form the basis of the lawsuit.  Notably, the plaintiff may file the complaint in either state or federal court.

But, It’s my intellectual property

Intellectual property is a complex area of the law. As a result, individuals do not even know they are infringing on another’s intellectual property. Alternatively, the plaintiff might allege they own intellectual property that they do not own or mistakenly believe that their rights are greater than they actually are.  

Murdock law helps our clients determine the best course of action if they’re served with a lawsuit alleging intellectual property infringement in several ways:

  • Challenging the allegations in the complaint for not stating a valid claim; 
  • Denying that owner has proved infringement; 
  • Asserting counterclaims claiming ownership of the property; 
  • Asserting appropriate defenses; and/or 
  • Negotiating a settlement of the lawsuit.

What Should I do Now?

First, you should contact an attorney as soon as possible. Your attorney will assist you in preparing a document called an Answer. The answer deadline is very important. Ignoring a summons and complaint is not the solution. A court may enter a default judgment against you if you do not answer the lawsuit. A default judgment will likely result in a large court judgment against yourself or your company. 

Second, you must preserve your documents. Do not destroy any documents after you are served with a suit. Collect and organize all important documents that may be relevant to the claims or defenses.

Third, prepare a written summary of the situation and relevant facts. This summary helps your attorney prepare defenses or counterclaims to the suit.

How long will an intellectual Property Suit Take To Resolve?

According to a Price Waterhouse Cooper study, the medium time for an intellectual property suit to reach trial is 2.4 years. That said, most cases settle in pre-trial negotiations or are resolved on motion practice. 

What Are my Chances of Winning My Lawsuit?

Your chances of winning depend on the facts of the case. The plaintiff has the burden of proving the infringement and the harm caused by the alleged wrong. In some circumstances, proving the claim can be difficult. An extensive study showed that in cases decided by the courts on motion practices, the defendant will win 87% of the time. But when a case goes to trial, the plaintiff tends to be successful. Perhaps due to this risk, the majority of cases (76%) settle voluntarily.


Being served with a summons and complaint can be nerve-racking. There are important deadlines to be aware of and doing nothing is not the answer. Murdock Law has assisted our clients with complex intellectual property disputes. If you have been served with a lawsuit, call us at 844-744-7529.

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