Intellectual property rights and our judicial system
The issue of intellectual property rights has recently been in the news in some areas and it is one of greed causing pain to others. The aspect involved is one of patents which individuals and businesses have taken the time to protect their rights/ideas. Protecting property rights especially intellectual rights is important and when someone violates these rights they should be punished according to the law. Organizations who own patents have the right to file lawsuits against those individuals or organizations that have violated their patent rights without proper justification or authority. The current problem is one of organizations buying businesses which have gone bankrupt and taking control of the patents they owned.
Businesses are bought and sold all the time in our present economic environment but organizations have taken this to a new level. In purchasing companies and their patents the organizations then search out any individual or company which they feel may have violated the patents they now own whether there is any clear violation makes no difference. This impacts the financial stability of companies and individuals being sued as there are lawyer and court costs to be allocated. From research these organizations have lost a large majority of these cases as courts have decided against the organization filing the lawsuit. This is another example where our tort system needs to be changed.
The present situation in many if not all cases those who file lawsuits do not pay the costs to individuals or organizations being sued. This needs to change in dramatic fashion. While there may be some differences among states the overall federal tort system needs to require those who file lawsuits to be required to pay the court and lawyer costs for those they are suing. The number of cases in our judicial system I believe would be drastically reduced if those filing lawsuits may be required to pay all the costs if they lose their case.
Lawyers also must take some responsibility in that if a case basically has no chance of winning or a remote chance of winning they should counsel the clients about the financial possibilities. Some lawyer organizations have made the commitment to not charge a client if they do not win the case. This in and of itself is not only a great marketing initiative but it puts in place I believe an evaluation process about cases being present to them for action. This profession should not be about how much money they can make but doing the right thing both for their clients or potential clients and the judicial system. We complain about the costs of government and reducing or eliminating these type of cases from the judicial system will allow a more efficient system to be in place.
Every individual or organization has a right to sue for restitution from those who have done them harm, but in many cases there is some responsibility on both sides of an issue. This must be considered when making a decision to sue. In addition if a business is being sued it will raise their costs and this cost will be passed on to consumers. Our judicial system is not perfect but it is one of the best if not the best in the world in providing opportunities to appeal if it is felt a bad decision has been made regardless if it is by a judge or jury. This does not mean that it does not have problems. Tort reform has been discussed for a number of years and yet nothing has been done. Individuals in our government entities need to make the necessary decisions to change our tort system for the betterment of the system and protecting those who are being sued when there is little basis for a lawsuit. Requiring that court costs and lawyer fees be paid by individuals who lose their case may go a long in revamping our judicial system and potentially reduce the number of cases currently in the system today and into the future.