Some colleagues and I have come up with a good business idea and are in the process of moving things forward. We established an LLC for the company and at the same time we filed for a provisional patent. Part of this cost was an extensive existing patent search which yielded some good findings.
My concern is that there are 14 other patents or provisional patents roughly around the same idea. 2-3 of them appear to be almost identical to our business model and the technical back-end.
The idea is for an online & SMS (text) messaging service, so there isn't much you can do differently from a technical standpoint. I'm just not sure how patent law works as I have never designed a "business model" per say.
What I am trying to find out is what could happen if we move forward. What I don't want to do is invest $x and all the time involved and end up getting sued down the road after all the work involved.
Any insight would be greatly appreciated -- thank you.