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The Plague of Intellectual Property Litigation


There is an important resolution strategy to intellectual property litigation, which many in-house Counsel are learning to love: alternative dispute resolution (ADR). There are two basic types of ADR: 1. Non-binding processes, the most common of which is mediation – the voluntary, non-binding, confidential experience in which parties to a conflict attempt, with the help of a neutral person, to find enough common ground to arrive at a settlement; and. 2. Binding
processes, the most common of which is arbitration – an out-of-court adjudication of a dispute before a neutral or panel of neutrals, very often with special technical expertise in the underlying subject matter of the dispute.

Every year corporations apply for hundreds of thousands of patents, trademarks, and copyrights for inventions, new products, and names, images, and designs used in commerce. Over time a substantial number are challenged by competitors. Results: expensive litigation, protracted and hostile proceedings, and the black threat of losing the I.P. rights to a prized product or service that may have taken years and millions of dollars to develop.

In fact, an increasing number of in-house Counsel are using ADR in international property disputes, and in so doing are searching for the latest information, research, and successful models. It is to the CPR Institute for Dispute Resolution, a nonprofit alliance of nearly 500 of the largest global corporations, law firms, scholars, and public institutions that many turn for guidance, real-life examples, and mediator or arbitrators
from CPR’s Distinguished Panels of Neutrals.

Those who have successfully resolved I.P. disputes through mediation have found that the benefits are enormous: contained costs, time saved, and the threat of losing a patent or trademark greatly diminished.

Reporters and editors interested in covering this timely subject may have immediate access to the following expert resources:
  • An interview with or by-lined article by Robert F. Copple, Chair of CPR’s Patent Commission, which is currently spearheading a major initiative to study the use of ADR in patent disputes. Mr. Copple was Senior Litigation Counsel for Motorola,where he handled the majority of the company's patent litigation portfolio. He isalso a litigator and an expert on intellectual property, as well as being a trained mediator and arbitrator. Recently, he moved to Lewis and Roca in Phoenix where he is continuing his litigation and ADR practice.
  • A by-lined article by Michael Leathes, an active member of The CPR Institute, and very involved with CPR’s trademark committee. Mr. Leathes is Head of Intellectual Property for British American Tobacco and has been at the forefront of utilizing mediation in trademark disputes.
  • Actual case studies from companies that have successfully turned to mediation to resolve I.P. disputes as well as their stunning results.
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