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California-based license plate reader company files patent suit

Corporations can take various steps to protect their confidential information and intellectual property. If this property is used without authorization, a company may pursue business litigation to protect their rights.

A California-based company that specializes in license plate reading technology is suing one of its smaller competitors for patent infringement. In conjunction with another company that has licensed its patents to them, they have brought the action against their competitor over three patents. The technology in question is used by law enforcement to compare vehicle license plates with lists of stolen vehicles. Additionally, license plate readers can be used by private companies for recovery purposes.

The company bringing the action claims that they were aware of the alleged patent violations a few years ago, but waited until now to file suit to protect their intellectual property rights and technology investments. The competitor being sued claims that they have not infringed on any patents and feel that the motivation behind the action is their growing market share in the industry.

Intellectual property includes copyrights, trademarks and patents, among other items. When an individual or a company holds a patent, they are protected from unauthorized use, manufacture and sale of the patented product or device. To protect their rights, they must bring an action for patent infringement and prove that the defendant has violated their patent. Forms of patent infringement include direct, indirect, contributory and literal infringement.

Those accused of infringing on a patent can defend their actions by showing that the patent is invalid or that it doesn't possess novelty and nonobviousness. Novelty means that an invention must be new, while nonobviousness requires that it cannot be an improvement or variation of another existing invention.

If a company can prove that another organization has infringed upon their patent, they can pursue various remedies. They may be able to prevent any infringing actions through an injunction or pursue monetary damages for any losses incurred as a result. A corporation involved in such an intellectual property dispute may seek the assistance of a business law attorney.

Source: Ars Technica, "License plate reader firm says patent suit is payback for poaching customers," Cyrus Farivar, June 13, 2014

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