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There are many situations outside of trial where lawyers find themselves in a courtroom or courtroom-like environment. Some examples include a mock trial, a pretrial hearing, an arbitration, a mediation, or an administrative hearing. Some of these situations are a lot like trial, yet I find many litigators don’t treat them like a trial. I think they should. One such example whose lesson applies broadly to almost any trial attorney is a relatively new type of administrative hearing that occurs every day at the Patent & Trademark Office. It’s called an inter partes review hearing (IPR). And if you think this article applies only to patent litigators, you’re wrong. This type of hearing has lessons for all trial attorneys. The work that patent litigators do is almost always complex. Over the past 24 years at A2L, roughly 40 percent of our work has involved patent litigation. That makes sense because the work of A2L is perfectly suited to patent litigation. We have three primary services: conducting mock trials and jury research, simplifying complex information with litigation graphics and expert storytelling, and using trial technology to quickly convey information to the factfinder. Patent litigators, after all, need to convey complicated information in a jury-friendly way. It needs to be understandable and persuasive and needs to tell a story that people will care about, a story that must be delivered in a winning manner. That’s why as far back as the 1990s, it has been patent litigators whom A2L worked with most often. In 2009, the America Invents Act (AIA) fundamentally changed the way in which patent cases are tried. The act allows for, among other things, something of a shortcut method to challenge the validity of a patent via a hearing at the Patent and Trademark office. There are judges and there is vigorous opposition from opposing counsel. But what’s missing here compared with most patent trials -- professionally prepared litigation graphics, a clear and compelling story, and an effort to highlight only the important information in the oral presentation. See 5 Tips For Inter Partes Review Hearing Presentations at the PTO. I heard a quote from Judge Learned Hand recently that underscores this last point: With the courage which only comes of justified self-confidence, he dared to rest his case upon its strongest point, and so avoided that appearance of weakness and uncertainty which comes of a clutter of arguments. Few lawyers are willing to do this; it is the mark of the most distinguished talent. If you want to see 100+ bullet point-ridden slides with trial counsel reading from them (see How Many PowerPoint Slides Should You Use in a Typical Trial? and 12 Ways to SUCCESSFULLY Combine Oral and Visual Presentations), this venue is all too often the place to find them. Considering the material and what is at stake, this is pure self-sabotage on behalf of a legal team. Patent lawyers generally do well at trial working with A2L, but for some reason, many have reverted to the behaviors of the 1980s and 1990s in this venue.  Of course, I notice this in all sorts of venues, unfortunately, and I want to raise awareness for both trial counsel and clients in all areas. The science is well settled on why litigation graphics are necessary - even in a bench trial environment. See 6 Studies That Support Litigation Graphics in Courtroom Presentations. The same is true for telling a compelling story and doing that efficiently. I have heard this sentiment from judges and practitioners alike. One veteran patent litigator, Rob Mattson of the Oblon law firm, spoke to me about IPRs, “These cases are similar to a summary judgment hearing, and the judges want to understand the technology and what is in dispute as efficiently as possible. Getting the litigation graphics right here is just as important as in trial, although there may only be 20 key slides instead of 80.” I believe that this is a broad lesson that goes well beyond the inter partes review hearing. Consider some of these articles on each of these areas and how they might apply to what you present to your fact-finder. Presenting in arbitration/mediation Presenting in international arbitration Presenting in inter partes review hearings 14 Places Your Colleagues Are Using Persuasive Graphics (That Maybe You're Not) Presenting in class certification hearings Presenting in Markman hearings Presenting at the ITC Presenting in mock trials

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I noticed a recent article describing how judges react to PowerPoint and to the sometimes excessive number of demonstrative exhibits presented to them. It resonated with me. The article describes a panel discussion among judges from the Patent Trial and Appeal Board. Lead Administrative Patent Judge Thomas Giannetti noted, "I think people are using too many demonstratives and too many PowerPoints. If you’re going to use them, don’t give us 100. Give us 10.” Lead Administrative Patent Judge Brian Murphy said at the same conference that “less is more,” because attorneys can be sure that the judges know the record before them quite well. He said he would like to see demonstratives that just focus on the key points and include clear citations to the record in the case. “Some parties use so many slides that they confuse themselves or confuse us,” he said. These judges make an excellent point. Ten phenomenal pieces of demonstrative evidence that reflect rigorous thought and preparation are much better than 100 bullet-point-riddled PowerPoint slides.  In a time when PowerPoint makes it easy for associates to generate draft opening decks containing hundreds of slides, it's no surprise that judges are pushing back. The problem with PowerPoint is that it makes it too easy to do lazy, dull, and uninspired work. I spoke at a conference recently and I made the point that every case has one exhibit that can tell the story of the case -- and we all just need to find it. The best tool for doing so is time, which is a precious commodity in most trial preparation situations. The more time you have, the more likely you are to have that epiphany about just the right demonstrative that brings the whole case together. I've often spoken and written about the fact that the demonstrative exhibits you don't use have a lot to do with finding the ideal demonstratives because of the iterative process of creativity. The great challenge is taking the time to go through 20 to 40 versions of a PowerPoint deck before arriving at your final opening or closing deck. It's the right way to do things. Without a doubt, it leads to the best results. But it does require the consumption of precious time. Every lawyer has to decide on his or her own whether this time is well spent. I believe it is. Other free articles and resources from A2L Consulting about trial preparation, the development of litigation graphics, and the preparation of persuasive visual aids for trial include: Lawyers: It’s Time to Make Time for Trial Preparation 10 Reasons The Litigation Graphics You DO NOT Use Are Important The 14 Most Preventable Trial Preparation Mistakes 12 Ways to SUCCESSFULLY Combine Oral and Visual Presentations The 13 Biggest Reasons to Avoid Last-Minute Trial Preparation Why Reading Bullet Points in Litigation Graphics Hurts You The 12 Worst PowerPoint Mistakes Litigators Make 16 PowerPoint Litigation Graphics You Won't Believe Are PowerPoint FREE DOWNLOAD: Storytelling for Litigators E-Book 3rd Ed. Law360 Interviews A2L Consulting's Founder/CEO Ken Lopez Three Top Trial Lawyers Tell Us Why Storytelling Is So Important How Long Before Trial Should I Begin Preparing My Trial Graphics? Top 7 Things I've Observed as a Litigation Consultant Sample One-Year Trial Prep Calendar for High Stakes Cases Using & Creating Litigation Graphics to Persuade - An E-Book for Litigators and Litigation Support Professionals 6 Studies That Support Litigation Graphics in Courtroom Presentations

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by Ken Lopez Founder/CEO A2L Consulting As we approach the end of 2016, I'm reviewing the many free resources that have been viewed and downloaded from A2L Consulting's extensive litigation-focused website this year. From podcasts to blog articles to free downloadable e-books to free webinars, we have given back this year to the trial community more than ever. Our blog has been accessed 250,000 times, our 20+ free e-books have been downloaded tens of thousands of times and more than 1,000 new subscribers have signed up for a free litigation and persuasion-focused blog subscription in the past year. To help sort through all that data and information and focus on just the best content and resources, here are the 10 items, all completely complimentary and without additional obligation, that saw the most intense attention this year from the litigation industry's top players. Visits to A2L's free resources (podcasts, e-books, webinars etc.): This central set of resources allows visitors to our site to direct themselves to the information they most need.   Storytelling for Litigators Webinar: The science of using storytelling for persuasion is in its nascent stages. This webinar explains what is now known and how to best use storytelling techniques to influence other people’s thoughts and conclusions.   The Patent Litigation Handbook 4th Edition: During A2L's more than 20 years in business, intellectual property cases have represented nearly half of our total work. Therefore, it’s no surprise that when we want to update one of our handbooks, we often turn to our patent litigation handbook. It’s a perennial winner.   The Voir Dire Handbook: I'm surprised by how popular this book is, but voir dire continues to be one of the most searched for terms on our site. We routinely help support trial teams during jury selection and conduct mock exercises that have a voir dire component.   Complex Civil Litigation Handbook: This book is a necessity for anyone who enters civil courtrooms, develops theories for civil cases, or works on complex civil litigation.  

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by Ken Lopez Founder/CEO A2L Consulting Since our founding 20 years ago, nearly half of our consulting work has involved patent litigation. Patent cases are uniquely suited to our brand of consulting, which relies on storytelling, persuasive demonstratives, and the simplification of complex materials for communication at trial. So it is with great pleasure that we release the 4th edition of our Patent Litigation Toolkit (download here). It seems obvious that our litigation consultants and litigation graphics consultants would routinely help patent litigators make their cases presentable and digestible for jurors. After all, these cases are often incredibly complex, involving issues of detailed mechanics, organic chemistry, and cutting-edge electronic technology. Less obvious perhaps, is the need for good storytelling. In fact, a lack of good storytelling is the undoing of many a patent case and patent litigator. After all, jurors will develop a story about your case whether you give them one or not. If you've done your trial preparation correctly, you will have offered one to them that they can believe in. This complimentary 270-page book is designed to help you with all of your patent litigation challenges - from storytelling to the simplification of complex material. I think you'll find articles like these very helpful:  5 Tips For Inter Partes Review Hearing Presentations at the PTO 11 Tips for Winning at Your Markman Hearings 16 PowerPoint Litigation Graphics You Won't Believe Are PowerPoint Introducing Mock Markman Hearings to Patent Litigation Trial Graphics in Patent Litigation - 11 Great Demonstrative Tips Explaining a Complicated Process Using Trial Graphics 10 Things Every Mock Jury Ever Has Said 5 Questions to Ask in Voir Dire . . . Always 5 Essential Elements of Storytelling and Persuasion 12 Worst PowerPoint Mistakes Litigators Make

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by Ryan H. Flax (Former) Managing Director, Litigation Consulting A2L Consulting Sometimes a trial graphic really does make the difference. We can’t say that in each case we’re involved in, a trial graphic likely won the case or played a major role in the win. We support some of the best lawyers in the country and they use the tools we provide to do what they do at trial. Usually we’re there to make sure they do the best they can do, but sometimes we provide that key image or animation (and the associated consulting input) that really clicks with a judge or jury and enables the win. Here’s a recent example. “Insert, Pivot, and Lock” This was a patent infringement case before the U.S. International Trade Commission concerning the connection mechanism between automobile windshield wiper blades and wiper arms – that little piece of plastic that might as well be a Rubik’s cube for most of us almost every time we need to change our wiper blades. Our client held several patents covering a very special wiper blade connector that was being ripped off by a competitor. To win at trial (final hearing at the ITC), we had to get the judge to agree to our way of understanding the rather verbose patent claim language covering what was a simple, although elegant, invention. Here’s an example of the claim language captured as an image from the patent: I’d say that this is a challenging read, whether you’re a judge, a patent attorney, or a fast food restaurant cashier. It’s pretty technically complex and rather long. Definitely “lawyery.” No doubt that it satisfies the legal requirements for claim language, but it almost takes one’s breath away. We needed to distill this language and the concepts behind it into something that was easily understandable, but we couldn’t be over-argumentative about it. Upon reading this claim language with the benefit of the rest of the patent’s disclosure and the reader’s own common sense, the invention had to seem simple (but elegant). With that understanding, how do you do it?

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by Ken Lopez Founder/CEO A2L Consulting We talk a lot about storytelling in our A2L blog articles. Our books, webinars, and articles that are focused on storytelling -- like Storytelling for Litigators 3rd Ed., Storytelling as a Persuasion Tool, and 5 Elements of Storytelling and Persuasion -- are among our most popular. We believe that effective storytelling is central to winning cases, and we've talked about the kind of results you can get when storytelling is used well in $300 Million of Litigation Consulting and Storytelling Validation and Patent Litigation Graphics + Storytelling Proven Effective: The Apple v. Samsung Jury Speaks. We've also written several times about how to structure a good story or opening statement for trial in articles like How to Structure Your Next Speech, Opening Statement or Presentation, Portray Your Client As a Hero in 17 Easy Storytelling Steps, The Top 14 TED Talks for Lawyers and Litigators 2014, and 5 Keys to Telling a Compelling Story in the Courtroom. However, there are many ways to put together an effective story, and the format matters a great deal.

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  by Ryan H. Flax, Esq. (Former) Managing Director, Litigation Consulting A2L Consulting On May 26, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court released its opinion in Commil USA, LLC v. Cisco Systems, Inc. (575 U.S. ____ (2015)) and it will significantly change patent litigation in the U.S.1 In Commil USA, the Court clarified when indirect patent infringement known as “inducement” occurs and how [not] to escape liability. As a bit of background, a patent can be infringed directly and indirectly. The Patent Act, at 35 U.S.C. § 271, makes it unlawful to make, use, sell, or offer to sell (in the U.S.) a patented thing or process without the patent holder’s permission. Part (a) of this section provides liability for direct infringement, that is, outright doing the thing that infringes a patent. Part (b) governs the first of two indirect infringements, induced infringement, and states “whoever actively induces infringement of a patent shall be liable as an infringer.” This is the focus of the Commil USA case. Part (c) of section 271 deals with the second of the indirect infringements (and interestingly, the one that was first statutorily identified), which is contributory infringement, which makes it an infringement to supply a non-staple, component for use in a patented thing or process.

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  by Ryan H. Flax (Former) Managing Director, Litigation Consulting A2L Consulting Inter Partes Review, or IPR, has drastically changed the way we litigate patent infringement in the U.S. In big-budget patent cases, it is now almost inevitable that an IPR will be requested (and likely granted). The process is supposed to take no longer than a year to complete, but under current case law that’s a year’s delay in the district court case. Moreover, the odds are that any patent that enters IPR will not leave it unscathed. So, whether you need to win an IPR to save your client’s patent’s claims or to insure your client against infringement allegations, the bottom line is that it’s critically important. And, you need to win. Here are what I believe to be five important tips for improving your chances of victory once you get to the oral argument stage at the end of an IPR. At that point, you’ll need to convince Administrative Patent Judges that you’re the most reasonable person in the room and what you’ve said throughout the IPR “just makes sense.”

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