Litigators universally struggle to enforce order over complex cases, and patent cases are some of the most difficult. They often include multiple patents, numerous accused products, inventors, experts and often various contracts. Generating systems for both capturing and organizing facts and issues is critical, but difficult. And once you organize it for yourself, you need to find a way to organize it for the Court and then the jury, an even more difficult task.
I have generally used notebooks including marked up copies of the patents, key prior art, any contracts , accused product information and other hot documents. Others use computer programs or even whiteboards. But the Settlement Perspectives Blog (via Vickie Pynchon at the IP ADR Blog) has converted me to mind mapping — click here for the Settlement Perspectives post and here for the IP ADR Blog post. Mind maps allow you to graphically depict all of the critical facts and issues in your case, how they interconnect and to hyperlink to the relevant documents or testimony. And the best part is that you can burn your mind map onto a DVD and offer it to the judge as an aid for resolving summary judgment motions or construing claims. This one graphic depiction of your case with hyperlinks to the evidence could be more powerful than a twenty-five page brief explaining your arguments in detail. Mind maps are excellent tools for creating order from the disorderly facts of a litigation.
Here is an example of what a mind map can look like: