Elon Law Hosts NC Bar Association Patent Law Presentation

On March 16, Elon Law's Career Services Office and the Patent Law Committee of the North Carolina Bar Association's Intellectual Property Law Section co-hosted a roundtable presentation entitled, "Strategies for Dealing with a Charge of Patent Infringement."

Womble Carlyle attorney Greg Grissett presents on patent law

Attorneys Robert D. Mason, Jr. and Greg Grissett, from the Intellectual Property practice group at Womble, Carlyle, Sandridge & Rice, PLLC, led the presentation and roundtable discussions. B.B. Olive, Esq., a pioneer in intellectual property law in North Carolina, also attended the event. In 1957, Olive established the first patent law firm serving the Research Triangle Park.

“The presentation was a great introduction into an area of law I have great interest in,” first-year student Jon Horner said. “It was great to see principles we learned in class, specifically civil procedure, applied in real world applications to get cases dismissed.”

The roundtable presentation examined various responses to charges of patent infringement, along with the strategic considerations in selecting a given response. Likewise, the advantages and disadvantages of using inter partes and ex parte reexamination proceedings before the United States Patent Office as part of a litigation strategy were discussed. Advantages for third parties using reexamination proceedings are: a decrease in the costs of litigation, anonymity (ex parte) and improvement of settlement position. Disadvantages for reexaminations include, the accused infringer has far less input into the process and it delays resolution of issues.

In addition to the roundtable, the Committee also provided an overview on patent law for Elon students interested in the practice area.

“Perhaps more important than the substantive law that I learned at the presentation, was the opportunity to see how my civil procedure readings translate into real litigation strategy,” first-year student Brennan Aberle said. “Defending a client from a patent infringement charge can be very costly and burdensome, but the presenters showed how an extensive background in civil procedure and pre-trial litigation strategy can greatly increase the arsenal of tools at a lawyer’s disposal. It was a very practical discussion and Elon’s continued relationship with lawyers in the community is an invaluable piece of a more holistic legal education.”

The North Carolina Bar Association’s Intellectual Property Law Section examines copyright, patent and trademark law issues. The section, with more than 765 members, sponsors CLE programs and services; provides members with a substantive newsletter, IP Links; and helps mold the association’s legislative agenda for presentation to the N.C. General Assembly. In 2009, 2,736 patent litigation cases were filed in the United States, with a median winning verdict of $6.5 million.


By Danielle Appelman, L’12