Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Patent Titans Move to Represent Patent Trolls

I saw this article from the Wall Street Journal (dated January 23, 2012): http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203750404577173402442681284.html

The article reports on two titans in the patent world moving from traditional law firms to their own outfits. Their new focus is representing clients who are so-called "patent trolls" – NPEs or non-practicing entities whose sole function is to collect patents to assert against other companies. While patent law has become more stringent in its requirements, (including limiting venue and prohibiting an NPE from requesting an injunction for sale of product against the other side), the upside for an NPE bringing a lawsuit against a producer and seller of goods is still very lucrative and the downside is relatively small. NPEs still can collect license fees at the "going rate" (to be proved in court). So, the risk is high to a potential defendant that it will have to pay the NPE something or pay their lawyers big fees to defend a lawsuit. On the other hand, the potential leverage against an NPE is low – there are very few counterclaims that can be brought against a company that doesn't make or sell anything. That means, a real company who produces product and contributes to the economy only has downside in these lawsuits. They have to slog it out to win against the other side, or pay (to settle, or in a loss).

I have been on the other side to both John Desmarais (Alcatel-Lucent v Foundry Networks), and Matt Powers, (Immersion v Sony Computer Entertainment). I found them both to be really tough, verging on mean, in their tactics. They both have an amazing reputation in the industry though. Part of me is disappointed, but I suppose I am not really surprised with their mercenary moves.

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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Support the Fordham Securities Moot Court Competition

As a firm believer in the duty of every practicing lawyer to coach and mentor the next generation of good lawyers, I fully support practicing lawyers engaging with law students to help them advance their art and expertise. I was requested to pass this message on, soliciting practitioners to participate as judges in the Fordham University School of Law Securities Moot Court Competition. If you are so inclined, I encourage you to support this wonderful opportunity for budding lawyers.

Here is the information on the event:

Each spring, Fordham University School of Law hosts the Irving R. Kaufman Memorial Securities Law Moot Court Competition. Held in honor of Chief Judge Kaufman, a Fordham Alumnus who served on the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, the Kaufman Competition has a rich tradition of bringing together complex securities law issues, talented student advocates, and top legal minds.

The year's Kaufman Competition will take place on March 23, 2012 to March 25, 2012.

The esteemed final round panel includes Judge Paul J. Kelly, Jr., of the Tenth Circuit; Chief Judge Alex Kozinski, of the Ninth Circuit; Judge Boyce F. Martin, Jr., of the Sixth Circuit; Judge Richard A. Posner, of the Seventh Circuit; Judge Jane Richards Roth, of the Third Circuit; and Commissioner Troy A. Paredes, of the United States Securities and Exchange Commission.

The Kaufman Competition is currently soliciting practitioners and academics to judge oral argument rounds and grade competition briefs. No securities law experience is required to participate and CLE credit is available.

Information about the Kaufman Competition and an online Judge Registration Form is available on their website, www.law.fordham.edu/kaufman. Please contact Michael A. Kitson, Kaufman Editor, at KaufmanMC@law.fordham.edu or (212) 636-6882 with any questions.

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