Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Patent litigation, the new Europe and litigators' future income

Here's a reminder that the Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys' annual CIPA Congress is being held in London on 11 and 12 October and that patent litigation unsurprisingly features among the topics under discussion.  One of the speakers on that topic, Willem Hoyng (Hoyng Monegier, Amsterdam), has already given a clue as to what he will be saying:
“The present litigation system is unsatisfactory as it is in general difficult to address European-wide infringement in an efficient way. This is due to unfortunate decisions of the ECJ in GAT-LUK and Primus-Roche (here). With a wise ECJ all the stuff we talk about today would have been superfluous. 
In my CIPA Congress paper I shall explain briefly the present proposals for the litigation system and say something about the procedural rules and the work of the Committee who drafted these rules. I will try to solicit some adverse reactions by preaching in favour of the proposed system, by asking the UK and German audience to forget their idea that they have the best litigation system, by asking the litigators to stop worrying about their future income. There is a lot of cold water fear. In general lawyers are conservative and do not like change. We have to adopt the system and as it stands it could become a success and I will explain why. Not all European measures have a euro doom scenario! Without daring there is no future!”
Readers of this blog may have their own thoughts on this subject, particularly the bit about "asking the litigators to stop worrying about their future income". It is accepted that litigators exist for the benefit of their clients and not vice versa, that patent litigation is expensive and that clients, in a free market and with perfect information at their disposal, will gravitate towards whichever way of resolving a dispute is the most beneficial to them -- in many cases, this means the cheapest.

However, there is a large gap between what clients pay and what litigators take home.  Much of this gap is accounted for by disbursements and expenses necessarily incurred in the course of litigation; more still is swallowed up by a proportion of the litigator's office overheads -- heating, lighting, office rent, salaries of non-fee-earning staff, employers' liability insurance, professional indemnity insurance, subscriptions to legal information services and law reports, and so on.

The Congress programme can be accessed here; registration here.

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