Random Ramblings about stuff I see going on in biotech, internet and the stuff I read.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Patent Infringement : Settle or Fight

So, We are only involved in a couple of lawsuits at a time, so my exposure to this is limited to the few patent suits that are on going now or in the recent past. Thus, you should take this with the size of salt you think you should...

What I have seen so far :

  • Law suits are messy. Being "right" in a scientific sense is totally irrelevant.
  • Lawyers will bill lots of money.
  • A "jury of your peers" is a joke. The esoteric crap this is being fought about is hard enough for most Ph.D. level folks to get their heads around. Expecting a jury to do that is a useless hope. You will get a "random" result. Role your dye with care...
  • Damages are randomly determined. The rules for this are somewhat set...juries just don't seem to follow them.
So, look at the Vioxx trial to see how well a jury understands scientific presentations. After the first trial they interviewed the jury, who admitted they didn't understand a word that was said but instead focussed on feeling bad for the widow. So they awarded her a lot of money. Whether Merck is "right" or not doesn't matter, as the jury didn't understand it anyway.
  • Thus you rely on appeal....
The appeals court actually uses it's brain, so you stand a chance here if you are right! If you aren't right, you should try and settle before you get here.

Overall : Fighting is good for you if you win. If you don't win, fighting isn't good, so it really comes down to what kind of gambler you are. If you don't win, and then go to appeal, you are going to spend a year, and the lawyer fee's that go with that, before you get another shot. Do you have a year? No matter what happens, it will be a distraction, it will cost a lot of money, and it will go on longer than you want.

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