Business disputes have the potential to make or break a company. There can be money, reputations and even jobs on the line, which is why it can be crucial that these disputes be resolved in a fair and efficient manner.
However, this can seem impossible when one of the companies involved in a business dispute is much larger, more profitable or more well-known than the other. While this can certainly present a number of complex challenges, it does not mean that company should not be held accountable for breaking the law.
For example, you are likely quite familiar with Apple. You probably have products at your desk, in your home and even in your pocket that you bought because of the Apple name. On the other hand, you may no idea what VirnetX Holding Corp makes or does. However, it was VirnetX Holding Corp that came out on top recently when these two companies found themselves in a pricey dispute.
According to reports, Apple was being sued for using patented security technology without the permission of the holding company. The case went to trial and VirnetX was requesting $532 million in damages.
The jury members in this case not only agreed that Apple used the technology unlawfully, they determined it did so knowing it was wrong. Because of this, VirnetX was ultimately awarded $625 million.
When one or both companies involved in a dispute is high-profile and/or quite successful, the stakes of a legal settlement can be considerable. While it can be intimidating to be a smaller, less-established company in these legal matters, the fact is that any party that violates state or federal business laws can and should be held accountable. No one is above the law.
No matter what size company you may have, you as a business owner have the right to protect it. Having the help of an attorney in these situations can be essential as you determine whether to negotiate a settlement, go through arbitration or pursue litigation.
Source: Reuters, "Apple ordered to pay $625 million in patent dispute with VirnetX," Andrew Chung, Feb. 3, 2016