No business is immune to litigation, but it seems that in the IT sector, intellectual property (IP) and patent conflicts are among the top legal challenges that keep tech firm managers up at night, followed by cybersecurity and data protection concerns. Labor and employment issues are also quite high on the list for digital businesses, according to Norton Rose Fulbright’s 17th Annual Litigation Trends Survey, which polls hundreds of in-house litigation professionals from international corporations.
Startup teams, legal counsel, and other internal stakeholders should take into account three crucial elements affecting the industry while addressing these legal difficulties. Technology respondents were more likely to be concerned about IP conflicts than any other possible dispute source, with 46% ranking them among the most troubling, compared to 16% across all industries. IP disputes are the top litigation risk confronting the industry.
It is not unexpected that tech businesses rated IP disputes as having the highest relevance and importance to them given that the primary role of the majority of technology companies is to create and market innovative technologies and solutions. The importance of IP assets to respondents’ core businesses was highlighted as the reason why disputes were such a worry.
Respondents were most concerned about the expense of these conflicts, particularly when fighting against charges of patent infringement. The cost and frequency of IP disputes brought by “patent trolls”—entities whose main business it is to acquire and enforce patents against technology companies—are so high that they often outweigh the expenses of using the patent to produce products and services—can be a drain on resources.
According to reports, several respondents are growing their legal teams. Increased investigation and enforcement actions against potentially infringing activity, enhancing the protection of business patents, hiring outside counsel to focus on specific IP strategies, adding more in-house legal staff, strengthening the protection of company patents, and developing a more developed and robust contract drafting and review process for IP-related contracts are some strategies.
Tech companies are concerned about cybersecurity and data protection issues. More than any other area, respondents from the technology sector cited cybersecurity and data protection concerns as the most troubling disagreement trend, with 71 percent saying they felt more vulnerable to these risks in the last year. They argued that it was crucial to secure both their confidential information and the information of their clients, particularly in light of the increasingly globalized nature of the business.