A: Yes. In 1997, Teledex, LLC., the largest provider of hotel phones globally, filed a federal lawsuit against my company, claiming that our new Aegis Series products infringed upon their established phone designs. We had awakened a sleeping lion.
Q: Awakend a lion?
A: Yes, because of our early success, it seemed as if all the resources of the then industry leader had been raised up against us.
Q: For a new business funded with 46 personal credit cards, it must have been a big financial burden to defend yourself in a U.S. Federal court.
A: Yes! I was forced to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees, airfares, and hotel expenses to travel back and forth from Champaign, Illinois to San Jose, California to defend our position in court.
Q: What was the outcome?
A: After spending 6 months in court and away from running my start-up company, I couldn't afford spending more money and time defending myself. Finally, I decided to settle the case.
Q: So you settled the case in court, but how did you fare in the hospitality marketplace.
A: Because hoteliers embraced our new products, sales continued to grow exponentially, and we were able to survive the challenge.
Q: What did you learn from this experience?
A: I learned the value of perseverance and thinking positive. Also, being sued by the largest player in our industry dramatically increased my self-confidence. It proved that I was doing something right and successful! And 11 years later, we successfully acquired the assets of Teledex, LLC. Today we manufacture, market, and support Teledex brand hotel phones globally.