I am not unfamiliar with lawsuits. A few years ago, I created a product. I had it patented – six times! I presented it to a variety of companies. And then, low and behold, I saw my technology on the market: someone else was using it. It literally tore my heart out. If you are facing this situation or a similar one, I want to highlight some of the mistakes you must avoid making. I’m going to share the perspective I’ve gained and the advice I wish I had received.
When I realized my idea was in use, I became very emotional. I was upset and I was angry. And as we all know, anger clouds judgment. I didn’t realize the process of going through a lawsuit was going to be so long and difficult – over three years, in fact. And in order to get through the trying situation, I needed to think as clearly and soundly as possible. I needed to view all of what was going on as simply business. Because that’s what the company that was using my idea had done. It wasn’t personal, but it was difficult for me to understand that at the time. Realize that although the process will be hard on you, it will be equally hard on my family. I was consumed by the lawsuit and had to constantly remind myself not to think of it all day, every day.
The second aspect I want to underscore is to not expect that your lawsuit is going to result in a windfall. Even if you truly think that you have been wronged. Even if you believe it is clearly evident you are in the right. Why? Because in truth, “wrong” and “right” are of little relevance. Your war will become one of words. And like sand, they can easily shift away from you, right through your hands. I watched my attorneys, who were fantastic, debate over words day in and day out.
I learned that it is much more important to try and reach a conclusion with the company you are legally engaged with. If there is any way you can work out an agreement that allows you to move on, I guarantee it is your best option. It might not be possible. But if it is in any way, take it. There are no guarantees. Even if you do win the trial, there is always the possibility that an appeal could be made, ensuring that you spend even more time in court.
My lawsuit was one of the toughest experiences of my life. Be prepared for a long, hard road.
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