The Case for Mediation of Patent Disputes (BIO News)

Mon, Nov 28, 2005

By: Helena Tavares Erickson

Patents are an increasingly lucrative component of IP asset portfolios. Unfortunately, they are also becoming targets for litigation with alarming frequency, and the costs of those patent cases are among the most expensive. For instance:

• The cost of preparing a matter through the end of discovery with a medium amount at risk was over $1 million in 2003 (AIPLA Report of Economic Survey 2003).

• The average cost of patent litigation from filing through trial can range from $1.5 million to $3 million—and in some pharmaceutical cases from $4 million to $10 million (Matthew W. Siegal, “Selecting the Right Forum for a Patent Dispute,” National Law Journal, May 7, 2004).

Why Mediation?

Over 95 percent of patent cases settle before trial. Settlement rates in patent infringement cases are roughly 80 percent. Since the majority of patent disputes settle, the question is: Can we obtain earlier and better outcomes?

And the answer is: Yes, try mediation.

The International Institute for Conflict Prevention & Resolution (CPR Institute) will publish its new Patent Mediation book as part of the CPR Master Guide Series in fall 2005. Authored by CPR The Case for Mediation of Patent Disputes International Commission on Patent Disputes and edited by Kathleen M. Scanlon and Helena Tavares Erickson, the book includes the five-step CPR road map for effective patent mediation:

Step One Getting to Mediation

Step Two Selecting a Mediator

Step Three Premediation Plannings

Step Four Mediation Sessions

Step Five Mediation Outcome: Settlement or Adjournment

Increasingly, disputants and courts are using mediation in the patent arena and saving millions of dollars in litigation costs as well as settling disputes far faster than by going to trial. Added advantages are the degree of confidentiality inherent in the mediation process and flexibility in structuring solutions.

So, the next time there is a need for an informal, confidential, business-driven alternative for the resolution of a patent dispute, please consider mediation. In the meantime, you may want to bone up on the five steps to effective patent mediation by ordering the Master Guide Series from the CPR Institute.

For more information, please visit www.cpradr.org or call 212-949-6490.

Helena Tavares Erickson, Esq., is Sr. VP, Research, Development & Education, at the International Inst. for Conflict Prevention & Resolution

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