Joint defense agreements are an increasingly common part of big patent litigaitons, in the Northern District and across the country. Having been involved in numerous joint defense groups, my colleague Thomas Pasternak and I wrote an article that was published in the most recent edition of the ABA’s Litigation magazine about best practices for joint defense groups and dealing with joint defense agreements — click here to for a pdf of the article, with permission from the ABA of course.
Probably the most important tip is one I have discussed before — communication, including live meeetings, is critical to building and maintaining relationships among the joint defense group:
The number of members of the [joint defense group] will have some bearing on how it is organized and managed, but regardless, communication is the key. Weekly, short conference calls once the case is running hot are important, however painful that is, to keep everyone looped in. For important strategy decisions, live meetings are going to be necessary. At the same time, try to put as few communications between co-defendants in writing as possible. Discovery of those communications can and does happen, despite all best legal efforts to prevent it, and you will be particularly embarrassed if you disparage opposing counsel or the judge in venting in an e-mail to your codefendant and that e-mail ends up being produced.
Click here for my previous discussion of the importance of live meetings for building relationships during litigations and click here for Victoria Pynchon’s IP ADR blog post that sparked my comments.