Litigation is not always the best solution, as it can become costly and is driven by a complex set of procedural rules that must be followed. Alternative Dispute Resolution, or ADR, provides other options. If for at least a period of time, both parties can agree that litigation is not a constructive way to resolve a dispute, that presents an opportunity for the ADR process. There are numerous forms of ADR; which is applicable typically depends on the situation. Our attorneys know the various ADR processes and can help you craft a forum for resolving your IP dispute that operates outside the regular constraints of the court system.
The benefits of ADR are numerous — why it is increasingly used and even formally integrated into the legal procedures that courts require litigants to follow. The main benefits of ADR are:
- Flexible Procedures — The process is controlled by the parties to the dispute.
- Lower Costs — Both parties save on costs that would otherwise be expended to comply with court procedures.
- Less Complexity — The rules for ADR are simpler than for matters in court.
- Expert Resolution — Parties have their choice of a neutral third party to facilitate a resolution, and they can select someone with expertise in the field. For complex IP matters, this ability to involve a qualified, neutral party is critical.
- Confidentiality — The matter can be kept out of the public record.
- Binding Outcomes — If the parties consent, the outcome is binding; durable agreements result.
The ADR process is rather straightforward:
Step 1. Select which ADR mechanism to utilize. The choices are:
- Negotiation: The parties resolve the dispute without legal counsel.
- Mediation: Legal counsel present the matter to a third party for a decision. In Collaborative Law, the attorneys for each side facilitate the resolution process.
- Arbitration: The matter is presented to an arbitrator, usually a retired judge or an expert in the field.
Step 2. Select the people best suited to resolve the dispute. In IP matters — inherently technical and complex — the choice of people involved in the ADR process is critical. Their technical background and experience play a key role in resolving the dispute with efficiency.
Step 3. Present the facts and legal arguments in the selected forum and work to agree upon a resolution to the matter.