United States patent laws ultimately decide the outcome of any patent infringement lawsuit that is brought to the courts. However, it is written and encoded in to patent laws and provisions that both sides of an infringement action lawsuit, the plaintiff and defendant, may seek to settle the situation out of the courts in order to seek a more beneficial outcome for both parties. Voluntary arbitration is exactly such an occurrence, where parties contract an arbitrating agent or mediator to help resolve the dispute in order reach a negotiated settlement out of the jurisdiction of the courts.
The reason that voluntary action exists is to save both time and any monetary costs to be expended by both parties. This also applies to the United States Court System as well, for hearing and attempting to resolve such patent infringement disputes have proven to be very time consuming and expensive. In many famous patent infringement cases that reached the courts, the infringement action dispute was not settled until years later, and often enough, it is resolved through a negotiated settlement out of the courts. Voluntary arbitration is required to be made under contract with both parties, while also providing for a written notice that the patent infringement dispute will try to be settled out of the courts.
Under patent infringement laws, the agreement or final decision reached as a result of the arbitration is to be considered valid and enforceable. Arbitration proceedings regarding infringement action lawsuits are subject to all of the regulations imposed by patent infringement laws, including the provisions for acceptable defenses.
If a settlement can be reached, and an award is to be granted as deemed fair by the arbitrator or mediating committee, such awards are considered final and are binding to both involved parties. In the case that an award is to be granted, and patent infringement is found liable to incur monetary damages, the patent owner or inventor and any assigned licensees or representatives must forward a notice of such to the Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
The notice is to contain the names of all the involved parties in the voluntary arbitration proceeding, as well as their perspective addresses. The notice shall also include the patent number and a copy of the award granted by the arbitration committee. In the case that the infringement action lawsuit is in regards to multiple patents, separate notices are to be made to the director in the circumstance of a granted award.
After receipt of such notice, the Director will enter into record the proceedings of the voluntary arbitration process, as well as the final outcome in regards to that particular patent. The awards shall not be transferred to the prevailing party until such a notice is received by the Director.