Understanding royalties in intellectual property litigation

Glenn W. Peterson

After working hard to create or invent something, a California entrepreneur will want to protect it. This will most likely require obtaining a patent, trademark or copyright depending on the type of intellectual property. One of the protections a creator or inventor can seek is royalties, which are often the subject of intellectual property litigation.

Royalties are usually payments made to the holder of a patent, copyright or trademark in exchange for the use of the property protected by it. The owner of the intellectual property and the party wanting to use it enter into an agreement whereby the owner grants its use for a specified amount of time. For its part, the other party agrees to make certain payments, and receives indemnity from any claims of improper use from the owner.

The payments may be called different things depending on the property involved, but at their base, they are all royalties. For instance, there are music royalties, performance royalties, franchise royalties and even mineral rights are a type of royalty. The bottom line is that through the payment of royalties, another party may use any intellectual property in which the owner has obtained legal protections.

If after lengthy negotiations a contract is signed, the person owning the property in question will expect the royalty payments to be made on time in accordance with the contract. If the individual using the property fails to make the payments as agreed, the property owner may exercise the right to initiate intellectual property litigation. This can be a complex and arduous process, so it would only make sense to work with an experienced California attorney to increase the odds of reaching the best outcome possible to the dispute.