Over two decades, Houston lawyer Sandeep “Sandy” Seth said, there’s been an “incredible acceleration of the volume of patent litigation,” and more firms are moving into the intellectual property litigation arena. But along with that, Seth said, there is a continuing “incredible inefficiency” in patent litigation because of the cost of hiring technical experts to do groundwork.
Seeing opportunity, Seth left Susman Godfrey, where he was of counsel in Houston, to become director of U.S. operations at LexInnova.
In that role, which he describes as a marketer, he assesses if clients need assistance from LexInnova for a patent analysis or if they need help with patent litigation. The company is a source for technical experts in India—at roughly half of what a client would pay for U.S.–based technical experts—for patent and technical analysis for litigation.
Clients “want technical analysis … and they want to have [it in] a centralized and effective way,” he said.
“It’s something that’s so needed but hasn’t existed before,” Seth said of his new role, which LexInnova announced in February.
Seth says his work at the company is marketing and providing case management advice related to technical analysis to clients. He continues to practice law through Seth Law Offices in Houston.
Building that firm over time—as well as making a lot more money—is the reason that Seth left Susman Godfrey.
“I wanted to have the flexibility to follow my own business plans while still being able to assist Susman Godfrey in my previous capacity but not being limited by the constraints of being an employee there,” Seth said, noting that he continues to work on IP litigation with Susman Godfrey.
IP litigator Jennifer Doan, a partner in Haltom & Doan in Texarkana, said she has heard of IP firms hiring experts in India to assist with analysis. But she said she’s not seen it combined with consulting, as Seth is doing.
“As far as I know, that would be a unique blend,” said Doan, who said she knows Seth from working on opposite sides of an IP case.
Steve Zager, a partner in Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld in New York and Houston who is global head of the firm’s IP practice, said it’s an “interesting idea” that would work best for smaller companies that don’t have engineers in-house to do the technical analysis.
“I suspect, for a certain market segment or a certain type of case, it could be a winning idea. I can’t see Apple and Samsung, with their patent war, unloading their technical analysis,” Zager said about the use of technical experts in India.
“It’s the first I’ve heard of it. I applaud the ingenuity,” Zager said.