Read our latest coverage of patent law and intellectual property issues, from Silicon Valley to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Claims like these are a sign of the ever- increasing value businesses place on intellectual property, IP lawyers say.
“The reason why they’re increasing is because patents are so much more valuable, not because more deadlines are being missed,” said Raymond Sweigart, an IP litigator at Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman.
And it’s not just IP lawyers that are taking note of the trend � insurers are as well.
“The malpractice insurance has gone up significantly for IP attorneys in the last 10 years, and certainly in the last five,” said JoAnna Esty, who heads Los Angeles-based Liner Yankelevitz Sunshine & Regenstreif’s IP department. “There’s a recognition among businesses that if they lose a property right, there is an inquiry into the reasons for the loss and, where appropriate, an attribution of fault and an expectation of redress.”
A past chairwoman of the intellectual property law section of the State Bar of California, Esty said premiums for IP lawyers, which used to be lower, are now at the same level as other lawyers. Richard Peterson, a solo patent lawyer in San Francisco and also Esty’s husband, used to pay just $2,000 a year five years ago � now he pays $10,000 a year without any claims having been made against him, she said.
Most firms take special precautions to avoid missing patent application dates because the stakes are so high.
“You have to have a double docket system,” said Paul Davis, who heads Heller Ehrman’s patent and trademark group. “We also have a top docket person, and we pay them a lot of money.”
The case is Vaxiion Therapeutics Inc. v. Foley & Lardner LLP, 877641.