Here are several stories and updates worth a read:
I am hosting the August Carnival of Trust on Monday, August 3 here. I hosted once before and really enjoyed the experience — click here and here. The Carnival of Trust is a monthly, traveling review of ten of the last month’s best posts related to various aspects of trust in the business world. If you have trust-related posts from the last month, send them to me. by Friday or Saturday. For other examples of Carnival of Trust posts, check out recent hosts Adrian Dayton and Victoria Pynchon.
I was featured in Stephanie Allen West’s Reading Minds column in the ABA’s Law Practice Management magazine this month — click here to read the column. Along with Jennifer Loud Ungar, Andrew Flusche, and Todd Kashdan, I was asked to recommend a favorite management book. I went with an unorthodox choice, but a valuable read, the Boy Scout Patrol Leader’s Handbook. Here is some of my recommendation:
In the many years since I relied on the Handbook to run Boy Scout patrols, I have found the lessons in this volume to be equally applicable to leading and managing teams of lawyers or businesspeople. The Handbook is a powerful guide for developing successful organizations, maintaining group morale and achieving group success. As an example, it lists these 10 tips for being a good leader: (1) keep your word; (2) be fair; (3) communicate well and often; (4) be flexible; (5) be organized; (6) delegate; (7) set an example; (8) be consistent; (9) give praise; and (10) ask for help. These are words to live by for patrol leaders, lawyers and C-level executives alike.
Michael Atkins has a great post at his Seattle Trademark Lawyer about a strong brand protection program worth emulating — click here to read it.

Continue Reading IP News Shorts

Another sign that patent reform is heating up again: the ABA’s IP Section has sent the Senate Judiciary Committee a position paper regarding inequitable conduct reform (click here to get to the Section’s advocacy page which has a link to the letter). The ABA argues that inequitable conduct materiality should be based upon the law and standards at the time of the alleged conduct, not based upon the present day standards. The ABA also argues that inequitable conduct decisions should continue to be made by the federal courts, not the PTO. And finally, the ABA argues that the standard for inequitable conduct should be:
(1) that a person having a duty of candor and good faith to the PTO in connection with the patent or an application therefor knowingly and willfully misrepresented a material fact or material information to the PTO or omitted a known material fact or known material information from the PTO;
(2) that, in the absence of such misrepresentation or omission, the PTO, acting reasonably, would not have granted or maintained in force at least one invalid patent claim; and
(3) that the misrepresentation or omission occurred with a specific intent to deceive the PTO, and that such intent cannot be established by the mere materiality of the misrepresentation or omission.

Continue Reading Patent Reform: ABA on Inequitable Conduct

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 Paternak 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.

Continue Reading Making Joint Defense Agreements Work

The Seventh Circuit’s Judge Posner wrote a Tips from the Trenches column for the ABA in May. The article was well written and insightful, no surprise from Judge Posner. He summed up his advice like this:
be brief, be clear, be simple, be vivid, be commonsensical, avoid legalisms, and do not be afraid to spoon-feed us–we will not bite your hand.
He also provided more detailed advice. Here are my favorites:
* Use visual aids. But he suggests pictures or objects instead of charts or graphs. People (and judges are people, although litigators sometimes forget they are) connect with and remember images better than words or statistics, especially when they see the demonstratives quickly and from a distance.
* Admit when you do not know and concede when you must. Few things kill credibility like false statements, even unintentionally false ones, or refusing to admit the obvious.
* Rehearse. And not just by reading your materials and preparing notes. Set up a session as close to what you can expect as possible. You practice baseball by playing and running by running, practice argument the same way.
* Dress to be taken seriously. First impressions matter and the judge(s) see you both before and while they hear you.
Most of Judge Posner’s points apply to both district and appellate court arguments. The article is worth a read.

Continue Reading Argument Advice from the Seventh Circuit’s Judge Posner

The Northern District of Illinois and Chicago’s Federal Bar Association chapter are hosting their Ninth Annual Awards for Excellence in Pro Bono and Public Interest Service awards program this Tuesday, May 13 beginning at 3:30 pm in the James Benton Parsons Memorial Courtroom (2525) of the Dirksen United States Courthouse at 219 South Dearborn Street. The program is open to everyone and is free of charge.
The keynote speaker will be William Neukom, the President of the ABA and partner in K&L Gates. Prior to his private practice, Neukom was executive vice president of Law and Corporate Affairs for
Microsoft, where he managed Microsoft’s legal, government affairs and philanthropic
Seven “Awards for Excellence in Pro Bono and Public Interest Service” and one “Special
Recognition Award for Public Interest Service” will be presented to the following Chicago-area lawyers for their pro bono and public interest work before the Northern District:
Sara C. Arroyo and Rosa M. Tumialán, of Dykema Gossett PLLC (presented by the Judge Coar);
Anthony J. Masciopinto, of Kulwin, Masciopinto & Kulwin, LLP (presented by Judge Manning);
Myron Mackoff, of Richardson & Mackoff (presented by the Chief Judge Holderman and Magistrate Judge Valdez);
Joshua D. Lee and Amy M. Rubenstein, of Schiff Hardin LLP (presented by the
Judge Brown);
Catherine Caporusso and Margot Klein, of the Federal District Court’s Self-Help Assistance Program (presented by Judge Hibbler);
David A. Gordon, Michael B. Nadler, and Kristen R. Seeger, of Sidley Austin LLP (presented
by Magistrate Judge Schenkier);
Lisa R. Kane, of Lisa Kane & Associates, PC (presented by Chief Judge Holderman); and
Richard J. Gonzales, Clinical Professor of Law, Chicago-Kent (presented by Chief Judge Holderman).

Continue Reading Northern District’s Ninth Annual Pro Bono & Public Interest Awards