Mediation is a confidential matter and the customer mentioned within this case study is referred to by surname only.
When your family has worked hard and put in a huge amount of effort to build a business from nothing, it is not only worrying and upsetting to think of that business being put at risk, but it can also feel very personal.
This is how Mr Smith felt when he realised another company was possibly infringing his IP Rights. With a patent pending someone claimed to have the same invention.
If I am totally honest, when I found out about the infringement I felt angry. I knew we owned this IP. It was my father’s invention and it felt very personal to me.
Mr Smith tried to keep a business perspective on things and took advice about what to do next. In the first instance he wrote to the offending company and then, taking the advice of a friend, he set up a meeting with a patent attorney.
While the attorney was able to help, the process of taking the company to court was going to prove costly and for a new business the mounting costs of legal action took its toll very quickly. It was at this stage that mediation was suggested as a way for the two sides to come together and find a mutually agreeable way forward.
Mediation was a way for us to come together to find a suitable arrangement. Although I did not recover any costs by entering into mediation, by having the mediator looking objectively at the situation we were able to move forward.
Looking back, one of Mr Smith’s biggest regrets was not finding out about mediation sooner :
Had I been able to get to mediation at an earlier stage I would’ve saved money, time and effort. If I had been offered the option straight away it would’ve been a lot better for all concerned and we would have had a better idea of where we stood.
Mr Smith hopes that other organisations in similar situations find out about the option of mediation at an early stage and that they are able to make the most of the benefits that mediation offer.
I think mediation is a great idea and can offer people a way of working things out without spending lots of money which could be better spent elsewhere when you are starting to grow a business.