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Patent litigation—with its complexity, high stakes and correspondingly high costs—has been referred to as the “sport of kings” of the legal world. Fiscal realities for most litigants, however, require that the “sport of kings” be played without spending a king’s ransom. Following are 10 recommendations on how to position your next patent case for success without breaking the bank.
1. Hold an in-person “all hands” strategy meeting, including a live demonstration of the relevant product(s), as soon as possible after a case begins. During the initial case assessment period, and of course during the discovery period, outside counsel must collect a significant amount of information about the company, the technology, and a variety of issues related to the merits of the case. While an in-person meeting can be expensive (particularly when it involves travel by some participants), it will deliver significant savings in the long run by providing outside counsel with a complete understanding of the technology, and introducing members of the in-house and outside counsel teams who will be communicating extensively over the life of the case. The initial meeting is also an ideal opportunity to discuss likely trajectories of the case and business goals, to ensure that outside counsel is approaching the case in a fashion commensurate with the amount at stake and the overall business context in which the case fits.
2. Hire local counsel who know the practices of the court and the judge. Unless the stakes are very low, do not use local counsel solely as a mail drop; rather, involve them in key decisions to be sure that those decisions account for the judge’s views and inclinations. Doing so will save money in the long run by avoiding strategies that will not work with the judge and focusing on the approaches most likely to succeed.
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