I'm a one man startup with a high price, low volume, niche software product that I'm considering selling in the US. However, I'm concerned that it may infringe a US patent without me knowing because US software patents seem to be granted for the most obvious and trivial ideas.
To decide if it's worthwhile persuing, I'd like to get a feel for the risks of being sued, what happens if I am sued, and what the potential costs could be if I was sued. I've got a few specific questions:
What is the process for a US company to sue a UK company for patent infringement?
I don't think I could afford a defence; I've heard it costs at least 7 figures. Do I have to defend myself? Do I have to hire a lawyer? Do I have to travel to the US? Is it acceptable to do nothing and wait and see what the US court decides?
If I do everything to keep costs to a minimum e.g., wait for the verdict and not hire lawyers. How much money will it cost my company? Would I just need to pay the US patent owner the profits on my sales to the US? If so, I could accept that risk.
How likely is it that if I did inadvertently infringe a US patent I would get sued? I'm a one man company, and I don't expect US sales to be more than $200K per year at the very most.