Be careful of divulging intellectual property in negotiations

Tennessee residents would be hard pressed to find someone even slightly familiar with the internet who does not know about Google. To say that what began as a humble search engine grew into one of the largest names in the tech industry would be an understatement. However, that does not give the company the right to infringe on another business’s intellectual property rights for its own gain.

A company called Impact Engine, Inc. is saying that Google did just that when it invited the company to sit down and negotiate an agreement for the use of some of the technology company’s products. Impact says that the search engine giant invited it to sit down and discuss the use of its intellectual property. Google required a demonstration of the technology in question, and Impact obliged.

Impact claims that after it delivered a working prototype, Google simply began using the technology without its permission and without compensation. The recently filed lawsuit claims that Google’s Display Ad Builder product is nearly identical to the prototype provided during the aforementioned negotiations. Impact intends to do what is necessary in order to protect its patented material and adds that it hopes to pave the way for smaller companies to avoid becoming the victim of similar tactics by larger companies.

A court may end up deciding Impact’s intellectual property dispute with Google. Even so, there is a warning in this story for smaller companies, including any here in Tennessee. While it would be advantageous to work with larger companies, divulging patented materials during negotiations in an effort to secure a deal may not be the best course of action.

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