One of the most important jobs of the trial lawyer and of the litigation consultant is to make highly complex and technical issues understandable to the average juror who does not have a scientific, engineering or technical background. In technology cases, especially patent cases, using demonstrative evidence is normally a good tactic. Here's why.
The trial lawyer has spent months or probably years delving into every aspect of the case, and by the time it gets to trial, even the most arcane subjects can appear simple to him or her. Of course, that doesn’t mean they are easily understood by the general population of which the men and women in the jury box are a representative sample.
Think of the challenge as needing to explain a complicated subject to a kid or to your grandparent; it takes creativity (and visual presentations - e.g. demonstrative evidence) to make the concept digestible to all audiences.
Similarly the trial lawyer, assisted by a litigation consulting firm such as ours, needs to simplify the subject matter without losing its essence and without seeming to talk down to the jury. The way to do that is to present the scientific or technical material in a way that is at the same time dramatic and fully accurate.
The jurors should be given the ideas behind the evidence in a broad sense at first and then introduced to the details. High-level demonstrative evidence illustrating the big-picture concepts used in opening will best set the stage for the detailed evidence shown in the case in chief.
In this age of constant content delivery on smart phones, tablets, computers and television - the information presented also has to retain the jurors' attention and interest. The information needs to be both informative and visually stimulating; enough so, that the content is learned and retained for deliberation.
We often use these demonstrative evidence techniques in patent litigation trials. While the technical evidence in these cases is not as dramatic as in television shows like “CSI,” it can often be shown to the jury in a way that appeals to their common sense or their sense of justice.
For example, below we created demonstrative evidence to show how liquid crystal displays (LCD’s), commonly used in televisions, computer monitors, and many other applications, are designed to function. The various layers, including glass layers, liquid crystal, film, and others come together in a brief presentation to create an LCD.
In this demonstrative evidence, below, we showed how a transistor works. We use analogy to indicate that a transistor is like a light switch. When it is turned on, electricity flows, and when it is turned off, electricity does not flow.
Here, below, we explained a metal-oxide-semiconductor field-effect transistor (MOSFET) to a jury. We used a frequent analogy, comparing the flow of electrons to the flow of water through pipes. This type of transistor is able to divert the flow of electrons, just like a pipe valve diverts water into the ground. However, occasionally the diverted water can cause problems such as leaky basements; similarly, the jury can understand that diverted electrons can also cause problems.
In all of these cases, the jurors need to understand the technology before they can rule on the factual issues before them. Did a particular company’s new version of an LCD infringe on a previous type of LCD? Was a specific transistor identical for all purposes with an earlier transistor? A fully informed jury will come to the right decision.
High-quality demonstrative evidence is a powerful weapon in the arsonal of the modern litigator. Please see other demonstrative evidence resources on our site below:
- Demonstrative Evidence: The 4 Types of Animation Used at Trial
- Demonstrative Evidence: Use in Patent Cases
- Demonstrative Evidence: Use in Environmental Cases
- Demonstrative Evidence: Use in Aviation Cases
- Demonstrative Evidence and Information Design
- Demonstrative Evidence in Pharma Cases
- Scale Models as Demonstrative Evidence
- Demonstrative Evidence Examples by Subject Area
- Chosing the Right Colors for Your Demonstrative Evidence