- Intellectual property litigators represent the parties to lawsuits involving patents, copyrights, and trademarks in federal court.
- Many trademark and trade secret cases are litigated under state law.
- In patent infringement cases, judges hold Markman (claim construction) hearings which can define the scope of litigation fairly early on.
- Attorneys research and evaluate not only legal issues but factual issues such as competing technologies and products in the market.
- This work can be very high stakes and influence the survival and success of companies.
- Because the work is so important to companies, at the highest level, many top firms want their attorneys to have advanced science degrees even when not required for the litigation.
Why Do Intellectual Property Litigation Attorneys Enjoy Their Jobs?
- Attorneys who enjoy intellectual property litigation enjoy learning about new markets, technologies, businesses, and working with experts.
- This is also a good practice area for attorneys with science backgrounds who may be interested in litigation, but not necessarily patent prosecution.
- This practice area can be extremely profitable for law firms on both the defense and the plaintiff's side and law firms take this practice area very seriously.
- This is a very adversarial practice where attorneys will fight hard and companies will pour every resource they can into defending claims.
- Law firms and their attorneys can bill a ton of hours on these cases, and plaintiff's side recoveries in the hundreds of millions of dollars are not uncommon.
What Are the Difficulties of Being an Intellectual Property Litigation Attorney?
- Attorneys who do not like this work may not like the fact that this practice is so adversarial.
- This practice can also be feast or famine, and law firms can build up huge teams of attorneys to staff cases only to let them all go as soon as a case settles, or goes away.
- Attorneys who have no interest in technology also often do not feel that comfortable with this practice and the fact that people are not involved.
- The larger cases can also be huge, and on the largest cases attorneys may not feel like they have much input on the sum of what happens.
How Easy Is It to Move Laterally as an Intellectual Property Litigation Attorney?
- This practice area has slowed dramatically since a series of Supreme Court decisions in 2011 and 2013 have made life very difficult for patent trolls and slowed a great deal of the patent litigation.
- Since these decisions, the litigation landscape with patent litigation has slowed dramatically, and patent litigation has become more of a dying practice area than a growing one.
- In prior years, patent litigation was among the busiest practice areas for the largest law firms.
- Intellectual Property Law Practice Areas Explained: The Differences Between Patent Law, Trademark Law, Copyright Law, Trade Secret Law and Licensing Law Explained
- Guide to Intellectual Property Law
- Why Does Litigation Hiring Seem to Take So Much Longer Than Hiring for Other Practice Areas?
- Is Contract Work the New Normal for Litigators?
- Why Most Attorneys Have No Business Being Litigators: Fifteen Reasons Why You Should Not Be a Litigator