应对复杂专利诉讼的六个步骤

复杂的专利诉讼,往往涉及很多专利和产品,周期很长,还交织着反诉、无效等程序。应对如此复杂的专利诉讼,确实需要丰富的经验和合理的策略。

今天文章的作者是Akamai公司的副法务总监,以及美国知名律所WilmerHale的两位律师。

作者在本文介绍了从商业的角度管理复杂的专利诉讼的策略,对内部律师和外部律师的工作都提出了建议,包括如何实现缩减案件、减少Discovery范围,最终赢得诉讼, 而且将成本控制在预算范围内。

作者不仅介绍了很多具体的经验,还以自己处理的案件来举例说明,也许只有这样的作者组合,才能写出这样具有实务价值的文章。

我初步有2点感触:

1. 制定诉讼策略:讲好一个简单的故事。

越是复杂的案件,越是需要一个简单的策略。美国专利诉讼是要讲一个陪审团可以听懂的故事,而中国专利诉讼也要讲一个法官能听懂,能听的进去的故事,即影响法官心证的故事。诉讼中,所有的证据、专家意见等,以及实体和程序的抗辩都要配合讲好这个故事。

作者举了一个例子,在其经办的一个涉及12件专利的诉讼中,被告的策略是:本案其实不是被告侵犯原告的专利权,而是原告窃取被告的商业秘密并从中获利。最终,被告赢得了诉讼。这可真是一个精彩的故事。但是,为了讲好这个故事,我相信被告方一定精心安排了各种证据,并把握诉讼节奏,一点一点把这个故事讲给法官和陪审团听,最后,让陪审团有一种真相大白的感觉。我都能想象被告赢得这个诉讼是多么有成就感。

2. 反制对方:抓住对方漏洞,综合利用各种手段。

要相信,对方提起这么大规模的诉讼,其准备也是不充分的,而且,原告的举证责任更重,他要考虑的事情太多,难免有疏忽之处。被告可以抓住原告疏忽的地方,重点发力。此外,要综合运用无效对方专利、提起侵权反诉、反垄断之诉等多种手段,来反制对方。

作者又举了一个他处理的案例,该案中被告将重点放在损害赔偿的证据规则上,而这一点上,原告提起诉讼时,显然没有研究的那么深入。最终法院判决没有侵权损害,实际上还是被告赢得了诉讼。

中国专利诉讼也有愈演愈烈之势,相信未来大家也会历经鏖战,百战成钢。

后附翻译,仅供参考。

欢迎分享到朋友圈,让大岭一直给你好看。

——永远爱你们的大岭

Six Steps to Consider When Defending Complex Patent Litigation

Defending against complex patent cases involving multiple asserted patents and accused products can be unpredictable, expensive and difficult to control. Large patent cases can take years to get to trial, can expose billions of dollars in accused revenues, and can cost millions of dollars to litigate.

By Brian Evans, Jordan Hirsch and Michael Summersgill | December 14, 2018 at 01:05 PM

Defending against complex patent cases involving multiple asserted patents and accused products can be unpredictable, expensive and difficult to control. Large patent cases can take years to get to trial, can expose billions of dollars in accused revenues, and can cost millions of dollars to litigate. Running complex patent cases is akin to managing a business with multiple stakeholders and an aggressive opponent constantly trying to defeat you.

This article discusses strategies for managing complex patent litigation in a more business-like manner—from both the in-house and outside counsel perspective—in order to simplify the case, narrow discovery and drive toward a win—all the while staying within budget.

1. Develop a Case Theme Early in the Case

Patent cases—particularly large, complex cases—are often won and lost based on the trial narrative presented to the jury. When many patents and products are at issue, it is essential to tell a simple, thematic story that the jury will understand. This starts with developing a case theme—an easily understood central message that the jury can use to evaluate the evidence and determine which party is in the “right.” Developing the case theme early in the case is critical: it aligns client and counsel on case strategy, allows counsel to develop evidence to support the overarching story, sets client expectations, identifies fact and expert witnesses early in discovery, and forms the basis for a realistic case budget that is tailored to the overarching strategy and tasks that are actually necessary to win at trial.

For example, in a recent 12-patent case involving a large automotive company, some of the authors developed a theme early in the case: the case was not really about whether the defendant infringed but was actually about the patentee stealing the defendant’s trade secrets to profit from others’ innovation. The defendant used this theme to shape the entire case, developing fact and expert evidence to support the theme, identifying witnesses to tell the story, and managing the budget by focusing on discovery that would advance the theme. The jury found not only that the defendant did not infringe any of the asserted patents, but also that the patentee stole the defendant’s trade secrets.

To develop an effective theme early in the case: articulate to the client and trial team a simple overarching case theme; meet with relevant witnesses early in the case to identify the face-of-the-company witness who can present the theme during trial; produce discovery that supports the case theme—even if the other side does not ask for it; and draft and regularly update a case theme memorandum as the case develops.

2. Control Discovery

Discovery in large patent cases can become cost-prohibitive quickly. Consider the following strategies to focus and limit discovery:

  • Consider a magistrate judge: in certain circumstances, such as a case that will require extensive discovery, a magistrate judge may facilitate more efficient discovery.
  • Use discovery requests strategically: parties in complex cases often serve broad, boilerplate discovery. Using discovery more strategically—e.g., targeted requests that exploit tensions in the patentee’s arguments or that develop the specific trial themes the defendant will present—can save costs, focus the case, and lead to early resolution.
  • Draft a deposition plan: in large cases involving many inventors, prosecuting attorneys and accused products, depositions can add up quickly. Counsel can avoid unnecessary depositions by developing a deposition plan early in the case outlining who should be deposed, why the deposition is necessary, and when the deposition should occur.
  • Limit electronic discovery: negotiating limits to email production—including custodians, search terms, and date ranges—can control the cost and scope of electronic discovery.
  • Serve early discovery on the patentee: serving early discovery requests can increase pressure on the other party, help control the direction of discovery, and begin to reveal the other party’s theories.
  • Pursue streamlined motion to compel procedures: some courts are receptive to alternative procedures to compel discovery, including initiating the process with two-three-page letters and a teleconference before filing full motions to compel.
  • Consider IPRs and a motion to stay: by filing early IPRs, the defendant can seek to stay the infringement litigation.

These strategies can drastically reduce the scope and expense of a large patent case. In a recent five-patent case some of the authors handled for a large technology company, the team developed an early plan to focus discovery on a license defense. While the patentee pursued nearly every possible issue through broad discovery, the defendant used targeted discovery requests to develop the licensing defense. The defendant won the case right after claim construction when the court found on summary judgment that the defendant had a license to each of the asserted patents.

3. Narrow the Case

Parties in large patent cases typically spend months (or years) litigating dozens or even hundreds of patent claims that are not ultimately asserted at trial. Narrowing the scope of the patentee’s allegations early in the case can limit wasteful discovery, control costs and focus the case on the issues that will actually be tried. Consider: an early motion to limit the number of asserted claims; motions to dismiss inadequately pleaded intent-based allegations (contributory, induced, and willful infringement claims); a creative case schedule requiring early infringement contentions to expose the patentee’s theories, or early claim construction to set up early summary judgment; and early challenges to the patentee’s infringement contentions where the allegations are not sufficiently detailed. Of course, whether and when case narrowing is appropriate is a very case-specific inquiry.

The authors have successfully used these strategies. In a recent case filed against Akamai, the plaintiff initially asserted six patents with a total of 110 claims. Akamai significantly narrowed the case by prevailing on a motion to limit the number of asserted claims (narrowing the case to ten asserted claims) and knocking out additional claims through noninfringement and Section 101 summary judgment motions. By the time of trial, only six claims across three patents remained.

4. Change the Leverage

The leverage of large patent cases is often one sided (particularly in the case of NPEs)—the patentee asserts many patents against many products and demands millions in damages. It is important for defendants litigating against NPEs to change this leverage and give the patentee something to lose. The defendant can: consider whether transfer would disrupt the patentee’s strategy; consider asserting its own patents against the patentee to the extent it is a product company; consider creative counterclaims, including anti-trust and champerty claims; and aggressively attack the damages case—which patentees often focus on only later in discovery.

In a recent case some of the authors handled for a technology company, the plaintiff sought hundreds of millions of dollars in damages. The defendant changed the leverage by pursuing early damages discovery—before the plaintiff had fully evaluated its damages case. The defendant obtained early admissions regarding the value of the asserted patent and then excluded the plaintiff’s damages expert on Daubert. The defendant achieved a complete victory when the court granted summary judgment of no damages.

5. Manage the Budget

Budgeting is critical so the client can manage financial resources and consider the cost of litigation in overall business operations. Outside counsel and the client should meet early in the case to prepare a plan to manage the case to budget—including by discussing what themes to pursue, the correct staffing for the case, and a schedule for obtaining additional information from the client. Counsel should prepare an early case budget with forecasts broken down by quarter and category (fact discovery, experts, document production, trial, etc.). The budget should be monitored closely (the client and outside counsel should track the run-rate on a weekly basis) and updated each month and quarter, if appropriate.  It is also important to have regular conversations with the client to discuss whether the budget may need to be adjusted to account for litigation events. Budget and strategy go hand-in-hand—the budget can impact strategic decisions, including how if at all to use IPRs, how aggressively to approach discovery, whether and how claims on cross-complaint should be pursued, and what case schedule to propose.

6. Communicate with the Client

Large patent cases move quickly. To ensure the client is involved in strategic decisions and up-to-speed on case developments (and allow companies with public reporting requirements to be current on the state of the case), outside and in-house counsel should establish a procedure for communicating case events on a regular basis—who from outside counsel will communicate with the client, who from the client should be contacted, and what types of issues need client input or approval. The client also may have resources that can streamline discovery, including in-house patent attorneys who can help with prior art searching and IPR strategy; collections from prior litigations that can simplify document collection; and in-house engineers who can provide technical guidance.  When in-house and outside counsel act as a single team, efficiencies are realized and successful outcomes more readily achieved.

 

在捍卫复杂专利诉讼时应考虑的六个步骤

对涉及多项主张专利和被控产品的复杂专利案件进行辩护可能是不可预测的,昂贵且难以控制的。大型专利案件可能需要数年时间才能进入审判阶段,可能会使数十亿美元的被控收入暴露出来,并且可能需要花费数百万美元来提起诉讼。

对涉及多项主张专利和被控产品的复杂专利案件进行辩护可能是不可预测的,昂贵且难以控制的。大型专利案件可能需要数年时间才能进入审判阶段,可能会使数十亿美元的被控收入暴露出来,并且可能需要花费数百万美元来提起诉讼。运行复杂的专利案件类似于管理与多个利益相关者的业务,以及一个不断试图打败你的积极对手。

本文讨论了以更加商业化的方式管理复杂的专利诉讼的策略 – 从内部和外部顾问的角度来看 – 以简化案例,缩小发现并推动赢得所有 – 同时保持在预算范围内。

1. 在案例早期制定案件主题

专利案件 – 特别是大型复杂案件 – 往往是根据提交给陪审团的审判叙述而获胜和失败的。当许多专利和产品存在争议时,必须讲述评委会理解的简单主题故事。首先是开发案例主题 – 一个容易理解的中心信息,陪审团可以用来评估证据并确定哪一方处于“正确”。在案件的早期开发案例主题至关重要:它使客户和律师在案例策略,允许律师开发证据以支持总体故事,设定客户期望,在发现早期识别事实和专家证人,并形成实际案例预算的基础,该预算适用于实际需要的总体战略和任务。赢得审判。

例如,在最近涉及一家大型汽车公司的12件专利案中,一些作者在案件的早期就制定了一个主题:案件并不是关于被告是否侵权,而是关于专利权人是否将被告的商业秘密窃取到从别人的创新中获利。被告使用这一主题来塑造整个案件,开发事实和专家证据以支持主题,识别证人讲述故事,并通过专注于推动主题的发现来管理预算。陪审团不仅发现被告没有侵犯任何所声称的专利,而且还发现专利权人窃取了被告的商业秘密。

在案例早期制定有效主题:向客户和审判团队阐明一个简单的总体案例主题; 在案件的早期与相关证人会面,以确定可以在审判期间提出主题的公司面子证人; 产生支持案例主题的发现 – 即使对方没有要求它; 并随着案件的发展起草并定期更新案例主题备忘录。

2. 控制证据发现程序

大型专利案件中的证据发现程序很快就会成本过高。考虑以下策略来关注和限制发现:

  • 考虑一位地方法官:在某些情况下,例如需要广泛发现的案件,地方法官可以促进更有效的发现。
  • 战略性地使用发现请求:复杂情况下的各方通常提供广泛的样板发现。更具战略性地使用发现 – 例如,利用专利权人论证中的紧张局势或开发被告将提出的具体审判主题的目标请求 – 可以节省成本,集中案例并导致早期解决。
  • 起草沉积计划:在涉及许多发明人,起诉律师和被控产品的大型案件中,证词可以迅速增加。律师可以通过在案件的早期制定沉积计划来避免不必要的证词,该案例概述了应该被废除的人,为什么需要进行沉积,以及何时应该进行沉积。
  • 限制电子发现:协商电子邮件制作的限制 – 包括保管人,搜索条件和日期范围 – 可以控制电子发现的成本和范围。
  • 服务于专利权人的早期发现:提供早期发现请求可以增加对方的压力,帮助控制发现的方向,并开始揭示对方的理论。
  • 追求简化的动议以强制程序:一些法院接受强制发现的替代程序,包括在提交完整动议强制要求之前用两页三页的字母和电话会议启动程序。
  • 考虑知识产权和保留动议:通过提交早期知识产权,被告可以寻求保留侵权诉讼。

这些策略可以大大减少大型专利案件的范围和费用。在最近的五个专利案例中,一些作者为一家大型技术公司处理过,该团队制定了早期计划,将发现重点放在许可证防御上。虽然专利权人通过广泛发现追求几乎所有可能的问题,但被告使用有针对性的发现请求来制定许可辩护。在法院在简易判决中认定被告拥有每项所称专利的许可后,被告在索赔建设后立即获胜。

3. 缩小案件

大型专利案件中的当事人通常花费数月(或数年)来诉讼数十甚至数百件专利权利要求,这些权利要求在审判时并未最终确认。在案件的早期缩小专利权人的指控范围可以限制浪费的发现,控制成本并将案件集中在实际将要审理的问题上。考虑:早期动议以限制声称的索赔数量; 动议驳回不充分辩护的基于意图的指控(缴费,诱导和故意侵权索赔); 一个创造性的案例时间表,要求尽早提出侵权诉讼,以揭露专利权人的理论,或提前提出建议以建立早期简易判决; 如果指控不够详细,专利权人的侵权争议就会受到早期挑战。

当然,作者已成功使用这些策略。在最近针对Akamai的案件中,原告最初声称拥有六项专利,共有110项索赔。Akamai通过一项限制所称索赔数量的动议(将案件范围缩小至十项主张索赔)以及通过非侵权和第101条简易判决动议驳回额外索赔,大大缩小了案件范围。截至审判时,仅有三项专利涉及三项专利。

4. 改变杠杆

大型专利案件的杠杆作用往往是单方面的(特别是在NPE的情况下) – 专利权人对许多产品主张许多专利并要求数百万美元的损害赔偿。对于诉讼NPE的被告来说,改变这种杠杆并让专利权人失去一些东西是很重要的。被告可以:考虑转移是否会破坏专利权人的策略; 考虑在专利权人是产品公司的情况下主张自己的专利权; 考虑创造性的反诉,包括反托拉斯和包揽诉讼; 并且积极地攻击损害赔偿案件 – 专利权人通常只会在发现后期集中注意力。

在最近的一些案件作者为一家技术公司处理的案件中,原告要求赔偿数亿美元。在原告对损害赔偿案件进行全面评估之前,被告通过追究早期损害赔偿金来改变了杠杆率。被告获得了关于所声称专利价值的早期录取,然后将原告的Daubert损害赔偿专家排除在外。当法院作出没有损害赔偿的简易判决时,被告取得了完全的胜利。

5. 管理预算

预算编制至关重要,因此客户可以管理财务资源并考虑整体业务运营中的诉讼成本。外部律师和客户应该在案件的早期会面,准备一个计划来管理预算案例 – 包括讨论要采用的主题,正确的人员配置以及从客户那里获取更多信息的时间表。律师应准备早期案例预算,按季度和类别(事实发现,专家,文件制作,审判等)细分预测。应密切监测预算(客户和外部法律顾问应每周跟踪运行率),并在适当时每月和每季度更新。定期与客户进行对话以讨论是否需要调整预算以解决诉讼事件也很重要。预算和战略齐头并进 – 预算可以影响战略决策,包括如何使用知识产权,如何积极地进行发现,是否以及如何应对交叉投诉,以及建议的案例时间表。

6. 与客户沟通

大型专利案件迅速发展。为确保客户参与战略决策和案例发展的最新速度(并允许公开报告要求的公司了解案件的最新情况),外部和内部法律顾问应建立沟通案件的程序定期举办的活动 – 来自外部顾问的人员将与客户沟通,应与客户联系,以及客户输入或批准需要哪些类型的问题。客户还可以拥有可以简化发现的资源,包括可以帮助进行现有技术检索和知识产权战略的内部专利律师; 来自先前诉讼的集合,可以简化文件收集; 和能够提供技术指导的内部工程师。当内部和外部法律顾问作为一个团队时,实现了效率,并且更容易实现成功的结果。

Source: www.law.com

Each article is copyrighted to their original authors. The news is for informational purposes only and does not provide legal advice.

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