John’s second case study contrasts with his first. It concerns an application made during a patent validity and infringement case for wide ranging disclosure of the patentee’s internal documents. Given the nature of the invention and the validity attack on it, some of the documents might have had some relevance. They would need to be reviewed. But, was disclosure really needed?
The alleged infringer was represented at Court by a QC and a junior barrister. Behind them sat several solicitors. Representatives of their client sat behind them. There was quite a team.
John represented the patentee. Behind him sat his assistant and behind her one representative from the client. They were out-numbered.
Before the hearing, John had arranged for all the documents that would have been required to be reviewed (most were paper, rather than electronic) to be put in boxes and stacked at the front of the Court. There were a lot of boxes.
The QC made his application. The Judge looked at the boxes and John’s client. The scene spoke volumes. The Judge refused the application.
The point is that a big team does not necessarily lead to success. As is so often the case, this application boiled down to a simple point: was it worth the effort and expense of going through the boxes to find documents that might be relevant? No number of lawyers could counter-balance the number of boxes in Court. Having a bigger team than was needed would have been counterproductive. That’s why this firm doesn’t recommend staffing cases in that way.