The costs of IP litigation are astronomical – and rising. Ever the spin doctors, some law firms see this as an opportunity. They emphasize the conventional ways in which IP litigants can seek to control costs:
(1) find attorneys with lower hourly billing rates;
(2) keep legal teams small to minimize (billable) time devoted to intra-team communications;
(3) avoid litigating in so-called “rocket dockets” where compressed case schedules necessitate larger litigation teams;
(4) develop case strategy early and do not allow diversion;
(5) focus on key issues; do not devote resources to unimportant matters.
As might be expected, the prime proponents of such cost minimization tactics are smaller law firms in mid-sized cities which are located in jurisdictions not currently fashionable among the IP set. Their billing rates are relatively low (although not necessarily by choice), their case teams are small (they don’t have very many staff), and their offices are not in “rocket dockets” (which may explain why their billing rates are low and their staff is limited). As the marketing folks say, “if they hand you lemons, make lemonade.”
All well and good. However, while application of the above-mentioned (lawyerspeak for “I’m too lazy to repeat”) guides will reduce the costs of IP enforcement, even the reduced costs may be an impossible burden for many IP owners. What to do? One possibility is contingency patent enforcement firms, some of which will undertake to enforce clients’ IP at no out-of-pocket cost to the client. Such firms pay all of the costs of enforcement. So, if you are considering enforcement of your IP rights, consider the contingency patent enforcement firms (they also handle trademarks and copyrights) as one of your options.