Intellectual property law refers to the application for and enforcement of legal rights to intangible property such as patents, trademarks and copyrights. The most common type of intellectual property litigation involves claims for patent infringement. In order to succeed on such a claim, a patent holder must prove that the defendant’s product falls within one or more enumerated claims of the subject patent. Defendants will not only assert that their product does not infringe on the patent at issue, but will often challenge the validity of the patent itself, sometimes in a patent reexamination proceeding before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
Other times, defendants will claim that the patent at issue is unenforceable because of inequitable conduct before the Patent and Trademark Office during the patent application process. If a plaintiff succeeds in its patent infringement case, the most common type of damages awarded is an award of reasonable royalties from the defendant. While the amount of such awards can vary widely, the median damage award is nearly $6 million, with numerous jury verdicts well in excess of $100 million.
Technological Intellectual Property
The explosion of technological advancements over the last several years in areas such as Internet technology, wireless communications and computer software has led to an unprecedented growth in patent applications. From 1998 to 2010, the number of annual U.S. patent applications doubled to more than 520,000. As a result, the field of intellectual property law has become one of the fastest-growing segments of the legal industry. In the last 20 years, patent lawsuits have increased from an average of 500 per year to nearly 3,000 per year.
Nowhere is the surge in intellectual property litigation more evident than in Heygood, Orr & Pearson’s backyard: the Eastern District of Texas. From 2003 to 2010, the number of patent cases filed in the district exploded from 14 to more than 300.
This increase was due to several factors. First, the Eastern District of Texas was one of the first districts to enact a set of specialized local rules for patent cases. Second, the judges in the Eastern District pride themselves on running an efficient trial docket that allows cases to reach trial faster than in most other federal districts. Third, juries in the Eastern District of Texas are perceived to be more favorable toward plaintiffs and more likely to award large damages.
According to a 2007 study by PriceWaterhouseCoopers, the Eastern District of Texas ranked as the second most favorable venue for patent infringement plaintiffs in the U.S. While nationwide, patent infringement plaintiffs prevail only about 37 percent of the time, in the Eastern District of Texas, that figure is nearly 60 percent. Additionally, jury awards for patent infringement in the Eastern District of Texas are larger on average than awards in any other federal district in the country.
Our Law Firm and Intellectual Property Claims
At Heygood, Orr & Pearson, our Dallas-based attorneys have extensive experience litigating throughout the Eastern District of Texas. Our attorneys have handled numerous patent matters including prosecuting claims for infringement, as well as for interfered-with patent rights. We have handled claims brought by a large local company for infringement of its rail car patent, claims by a local inventor for infringement of her patent for a childcare product and claims by an Israeli company against a Fortune 500 company for infringement of its wireless technology patent. Our firm has also represented a client suing a large American pharmaceutical company for interfering with its patent rights to liposome technology. While all of our attorneys are capable of litigating patent infringement claims, in addition, firm attorney John “Jay” Pate is licensed to prosecute patents before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
In addition to our specific experience in the field of intellectual property, our ability to prosecute patent infringement action is aided by our extensive trial experience in general. While technical knowledge and familiarity with patent rules is a must for attorneys handling patent infringement claims, there is no substitute for courtroom experience.
At Heygood, Orr & Pearson, our seasoned litigators have the experience to take even the most complex patent case and explain it in terms a jury can understand. We have a track record of proven success representing businesses large and small. Several of our trial lawyers are board certified * and many of them have been selected to the Super Lawyers List, a Thomson Reuters publication, in the State of Texas for several years in a row. ** Our firm is AV rated, the highest legal and ethical ranking available from the leasing law firm ranking service, Martindale-Hubbell.
If you or your company is in need of representation in an intellectual property matter, contact us for a free consultation. You can reach us by calling toll-free at 1-877-446-9001, or by filling out our free case evaluation form located on this site.
* Michael Heygood, James Craig Orr, Jr. and Eric Pearson are all Board Certified in Personal Injury Trial Law — Texas Board of Legal Specialization.
** Michael Heygood, James Craig Orr, Jr. and Eric Pearson were selected to the Super Lawyers List, a Thomson Reuters publication, for the years 2003 through 2014.