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Judge Lucy Koh of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California asked this very question during a panel discussion before a packed room of patent litigators that included Chief Judge Randall Rader of the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.  The panel’s discussion was focused on the proper exceptional case standard for patent cases.  As a district court judge, most of Judge Koh’s cases involve areas of law other than patent law.  But given her recent experience at the center of the epic battle between Apple and Samsung, which no doubt takes much of her time away from the other cases on her docket, her question is understandable.  Indeed, what makes patent cases so special, or, in the cases of Octane Fitness, LLC v. Icon Health & Fitness, Inc. and Highmark, Inc. v. Allcare Health Management System, so exceptional?

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Peter J. Corcoran, III, Esq., M.S., LL.M.

Peter ("Pete") Corcoran is the founder of Corcoran IP Law, PLLC. Mr. Corcoran’s practice is focused on contingency fee patent litigation, trials, appeals, licensing, and monetization throughout the United States. Mr. Corcoran has litigated dozens of patent infringement cases from complaint through trial and appeal, including fact and expert discovery, depositions, infringement and invalidity contentions, expert reports, technology tutorials, claim construction, and transfer, discovery, dispositive, trial, and post-trial motions. He has a unique familiarity with patent law, local patent rules, and procedures in the federal district and appeals courts, especially in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas and the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. Mr. Corcoran served as a law clerk to retired Chief Judge Randall Rader of the Federal Circuit and to retired Chief Judge David Folsom of the Eastern District of Texas. From these clerkships and his litigation experience, Mr. Corcoran provides his clients with a distinctive and unparalleled understanding of the federal district courts and the Federal Circuit. Before founding Corcoran IP Law, Mr. Corcoran worked as a patent litigator at Kirkland & Ellis and Winston & Strawn—two of the nation’s top patent litigation firms. He also worked as a patent litigator at Thompson & Knight in Dallas and at the contingency patent litigation boutique Antonelli, Harrington & Thompson in Houston. At these firms, Mr. Corcoran gained the valuable patent litigation experience and creative skills that he continues to provide his clients. During law school, Mr. Corcoran was a patent examiner at the United States Patent and Trademark Office ("PTO") for four years, where he examined hundreds of patent applications in the speech signal processing and computer software arts. This experience provided Mr. Corcoran with firsthand knowledge of the patent application process and Patent Office procedures. Before law school, Mr. Corcoran worked for Harris Corporation, developing user-interface software for the nation’s air traffic control system. This experience, in addition to his PTO experience, provided Mr. Corcoran with valuable knowledge of commercial software design, development, and testing that he uses when representing his clients in software patent infringement suits. Mr. Corcoran’s bachelor and master’s degrees in electrical engineering, and his master’s degree in intellectual property (“IP”) law, provide him an even deeper understanding of electrical, computer, software, semiconductor, and telecommunications technologies and their relationship to patent law. Mr. Corcoran frequently writes and speaks about the latest intellectual property topics and is an active member of multiple Texas and national IP bar associations. Mr. Corcoran served in the United States Navy (active duty and reserves) and retired as a “Mustang” Commander (O-5) after beginning his career nearly twenty-seven years earlier as an enlisted Airman (E-1). For nineteen years, Commander Corcoran constructed, maintained, and modernized nuclear submarines, surface ships, and nuclear aircraft carriers as a project manager and engineer. He continues to serve veterans by representing them pro bono before the United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims and the Federal Circuit involving veterans' benefits claims.

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