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Posts Tagged: "Contingency Lawyers"

Why Patent Contingency Litigation is Declining?

Contingency representation is monetarily feasible for attorneys and law firms if and only if there is a high likelihood of success. Even in the best case scenario attorneys will sometimes make bad judgment calls when taking a contingency case, but when the underlying asset is under attack — as patents have been — it makes it all the more difficult to justify the risk of putting in all that work and ultimately receiving nothing in return.

Money For Nothing: An arbitrator awards Jenner & Block millions for losing case, abandoning its client

Jenner & Block’s demand in the arbitration was for more than $10.2 million in hourly fees, which amounted to more than 70% of the net recovery obtained by Parallel Networks in the Oracle case and more than 110% of the net recovery obtained by Parallel Networks in the QuinStreet case. Jenner & Block justified this extraordinary amount by claiming that it had expended more than 24,000 billable hours in the Delaware Cases during the 18 months that it had represented Parallel Networks. Accepting Jenner & Block’s claim at face value would mean that Jenner & Block attorneys were purportedly billing Parallel Networks at a rate of nearly 44 hours per day, seven days a week, 365 days per year for the entire 18 months period of the representation. This was a rather startling claim given that the Oracle case was lost at the summary judgement stage and that the QuinStreet case never progressed much beyond the discovery phase.

Did Jenner & Block breach its fiduciary duty to Parallel Networks with an unreasonable contingency fee?

After losing a case on summary judgment, and at a time when Parallel Networks most needed its counsel to fight to overturn the catastrophic summary judgment ruling, Jenner & Block was instead having internal discussions on which course of action would allow Jenner & Block to recover the maximum amount, whether that was to continue or terminate the representation… After subsequently firing the client Jenner & Block interpreted the termination provisions in the representation agreement to give it the right to convert the representation agreement from a contingency fee agreement to an hourly fee agreement… Ultimately, new counsel would prevail on behalf of Parallel Networks on appeal… Jenner’s interpretation of the representation agreement seems to fly in the face of Jenner & Block’s ethical obligation to act as a fiduciary to its client, which requires Jenner & Block to place Parallel Network’s interests before its own. It is difficult to see how Jenner & Block’s interpretation of the representation agreement did anything other than place Jenner & Block’s interests ahead of its client’s interests… Adding insult to injury, the arbitration award for fees was more than the subsequently victorious law firm collected against the infringer on behalf of Parallel Networks, which makes it difficult to understand how the fee collected was not unreasonable as that term is used in ABA Model Rule 1.5, which prohibits attorneys from charging unreasonable fees.

Intellectual Property as a Corporate Asset

The theme of the annual meeting of the AIPF this year is “intellectual property as a corporate asset.” There are indeed presentations sprinkled across the two days of this meeting that relate specifically to this topic. Another recurring and equally treated topic is the use of the Internet in practice in a variety of contexts — attracting clients, networking generally and use of the Internet for investigations. Topics of particular interest included: (1) The Invisible Hand: Models for Monetizing Patents in the 21st Century; (2) Lies, Damn Lies, and Lawyers; (3) Contingent Fee Arrangements in Enforcing IP Rights; and (4) Economic Effect of Non Practicing Entities.

Lessons: 5 Odd Things Inventors Tell Patent Attorneys

One of the problems created by true newbies, particularly those who have not done any reading or tried to at least bring themselves up to speed to some extent, is that they present in a way that makes established patent attorneys and law firms want to run and hide. Whether it is unrealistic expectations, wanting a confidentiality agreement signed because they want to be able to sue you if things go bad, or wanting representation on a contingency basis, these things scream PROBLEM to most patent attorneys, thereby foreclosing a possible representation relationship in many cases.

A Better Mouse Trap: Patents and the Road to Riches

To paraphrase the famous quote of Ralph Waldo Emerson, if you build a better mouse-trap the world will make a path to your door. Inventors and entrepreneurs frequently take this quote all too literally, thinking that if they make a better product theirs will sell and make them rich beyond their wildest dreams. There are, of course, many different reasons…