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In Case You Hadn’t Heard…I Went to the ABA IP Section Spring Conference

by Keith Hock

Last week I attended the ABA’s IP Section Spring Conference in Arlington, VA.  This was my first time attending an ABA event and I had a great time.  I learned a lot about IP law, met some very friendly people and was able to catch up with some former colleagues and clients.

Here are some of my highlights from the conference:

  • Judge Randall Rader, Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit was one of the panelists for a session about patent damages.  Having worked on patent damage cases for many years, I was particularly interested to hear him speak.  The topics that he touched on included:
    • Focusing damages on the value of the patented feature (particularly when the feature is a small part or component of a larger device or product);
    • The use, misuse and potential end of the road for the Georgia-Pacific factors;
    • The Entire Market Value Exception (it is not the rule, Judge Rader explained), and
    • The need for rigorous damage analyses given the size of the awards being sought in today’s patent infringement cases.
  • The increasing importance of social media as both an intellectual property issue and a discovery issue.  I have not yet worked on a case that included the production of Facebook posts, Tweets or text messages but it sounds like that day is coming (and may have already arrived in some cases).
  • Practice development is an issue for all professionals – lawyers and accountants alike.  Here is a question to consider about your firm: do you work for a law firm that provides great service — or a services firm that provides great legal advice? (h/t to Southwest Airlines)  How you answer that question may impact how you think about what you do for your clients and how you approach developing new ones.
  • Since I am not an attorney, I wasn’t entirely sure how I would be received at the conference.  The answer was very warmly – thanks to all for your hospitality!

What do you think?  Are the Georgia Pacific factors on the way out?  Is social media the next big thing in e-discovery?  Is your firm a services firm that provides great legal advice?  Share your thoughts in the comment box below.

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