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Property litigation consists of court disputes that include recovery of monies, possession of property, and injunctions for intellectual property infringement or defense against infringement allegations. Litigation claims often involve real estate transactions, such as with commercial and residential properties, but they also involve intellectual property claims. Copyright litigation, patent litigation, and trademark litigation are all examples of property litigation claims that courts must resolve on a regular basis. Intellectual property includes inventions, processes, and intangible property that results from the use of a person’s creativity. Plaintiffs often resort to intellectual property litigation to stop others from using their intellectual property in the marketplace without their permission and to recover damages as a result of the illegal use.
Lawyers who practice intellectual property litigation represent clients in trial and appellate courts. In the United States, lawyers who represent clients in federal and state courts are often also able to represent clients before the United States Patent and Trademark Office. The prosecution and defense of claims involving intellectual property rights is often the primary duty of attorneys who practice intellectual property litigation. Attorneys seek a favorable outcome for their clients in court judgments or in settlements with opposing parties.
Some attorneys specialize in representing clients with certain types of intellectual property matters, such as copyrights, patents, or trade secrets litigation. For example, some lawyers may only handle patent infringement matters because of the level of legal and technological knowledge required to be successful in litigating those matters. Clients also often expect their attorneys who litigate matters on their behalf to provide them with counseling in order to protect their intellectual property rights and prevent future litigation.
Some disputes begin and end in intellectual property arbitration, and litigators often represent clients in arbitration hearings. Parties who seek arbitration often do so based on an agreement they signed, but some parties agree to arbitration in an effort to save money on legal costs. The rules for arbitration are often more lenient than court rules for intellectual property litigation, but attorneys must still argue their client’s position before an arbitrator or a panel. During the arbitration hearing, litigators have to present evidence, and some of the evidence may be admissible even though it would not be admissible at a trial in a court. Plaintiffs and defendants may also rely on intellectual property litigation attorneys for counsel in arbitration hearings, but represent themselves in arbitration hearings.