Because a mediator acts as a facilitator rather than a decision-maker, the true experts — the people who know their businesses, markets and technology better than anyone else — are responsible for communicating their position and resolving the conflict, rather than turning over the decision to third-party judges or juries unfamiliar with the intricacies of the science, designs or processes in question.

Rather than imposing an adversarial structure on the proceedings and the results, mediation allows the parties to negotiate positive and mutually beneficial resolutions or licenses. Here, “win-win” comes full circle, from cliché to reality.

Mediation allows both parties greater control over the process and the timing of the resolution, whereas litigation is subject to the schedules, delays, rules and procedures of the courts.

Mediation is flexible; the process itself is dependent upon the agreedupon standards of the mediator and the negotiating parties, and can be modified to fit the needs of the participants or issues at hand. The process can be as formal or informal as necessary to achieve a resolution.

In some cases, disputes can be resolved within a single meeting. While other, more complex disputes may take multiple sessions, the schedule is at the discretion of the mediator and the parties involved, not a third-party court buried under an unwieldy docket.

Compared to a court case — with its associated filings, motions, expert witnesses, downtime of key employees, and missed opportunities to capitalize on the intellectual property in question — a mediation proceeding is usually a much less expensive proposition from start to finish.

As with any contract or legal agreement, the negotiated settlements that follow successful mediations are binding. A professionally managed mediation will include full documentation of the resolution, enabling all parties to move forward with a full understanding of their rights and obligations.