Legal Issues

by Mike Masnick

Filed Under:
bogus lawsuits, patents

brainlab, medtronic

Looks Like Judges Are Getting Fed Up With Bogus Patent Lawsuits Too

from the about-time dept

While patent attorneys seem to love filing suits in East Texas, I'm guessing they may try to start avoiding filing suits in Colorado. Slashdot alerts us to the news that a District Court Judge in Colorado didn't just overturn a jury's ruling of patent infringement by BrainLAB against Medtronic, he also scolded Medtronic's lawyers for "abusive" behavior and demanded those lawyers pay BrainLAB's legal bills. Specifically, the judge, Richard P. Matsch, found that the two litigators who argued the case on Medtronic's behalf ignored the limitations and misled the jury. As Matsch noted:
"At trial, [McDermott]'s conduct was in disregard for the duty of candor, reflecting an attitude of 'what can I get away with?' Throughout the trial, the [McDermott] lawyers artfully avoided the limitations of the patent claims and created an illusion of infringement. They did so with full awareness that their case was without merit."
It's also worth pointing out that the two lawyers in question are generally well-respected (and expensive) IP litigators, rather than just random lawyers (as you might otherwise assume from the judge's comments). Yet, given how freely the court system has allowed patent litigation to run rampant, it's no surprise to see some patent attorneys push the envelope. However, it really is great to see a judge smack them down in such a strong manner, as it may wake up some other patent attorneys.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    Heidi, Feb 26th, 2008 @ 6:12am

    10th Circuit?

    Does anyone know if there's been a 10th Circuit case affirming this order? The Denver Post seems to make it sounds like there is but I can't find it on the 10th CA website or on BLAW. Any ideas?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 26th, 2008 @ 6:18am

    judge Richard P. Matsch FTW

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    4-80-sicks, Feb 26th, 2008 @ 6:43am

    I don't think very many attorneys will be waken up--many have that "what can I get away with" attitude. Hopefully some judges will wake up, though, and stop rolling over for patent holders.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    SomeGuy, Feb 26th, 2008 @ 7:21am


    That's the more likely scenario; it's a lawyer's job to win a case, regardless of how baseless, but it's a Judge's job to make sure that justice is served. I don't know that the odds are very good, but it's the more-likely of the two.

    At the same time, it'd be really great to see lawyers back off of simply following the money and reprisenting only people they honestly feel have legitamate grievances, much as it would be nice to see other businesses realize that it's more important to produce a good product for the betterment of society and not just for profit margins, but I'm not holding my breath for either.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    moe, Feb 26th, 2008 @ 8:12am

    Re: it's a lawyer's job to win a case

    Um, I think a little thing like the Bar Association may have something against, "it's a lawyer's job to win a case, regardless of how baseless."

    Lawyers, like some other professional industries, regulate themselves rather than having the government do it for them. This is an ideal situation for numerous reasons, but the government will step in if it has to -- the Bar Assoc. has a vested interest in keeping it's reputation (insert lawyer joke here).

    For example, Sarbanes-Oxley and the changes to the independence regulations established by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA).

    I'm an auditor (we follow the same rules as CPAs) -- the AICPA has established regulatory guidance on who can become a CPA (educational requirement), how you can become a CPA (exam), and what you have to do to remain a CPA (continuing professional education, established guidelines on proper accounting/auditing). When Enron blew up, the gov't came down on not only Enron, but the CPA firm that audited its books -- Arthur Andersen is no more.

    So, I guess what I'm saying is that it's not just "do whatever you want" in regards to the law. Eventually it'll come down on the Bar Assoc. if they don't regulate themselves appropriately.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    Finally someone with a brain, Feb 26th, 2008 @ 8:40am

    Re: Moe

    Thank you Moe for bringing intellegnce to the comments. I hate people who think that everything in America is just okay and morals are reguardless, as long as you are getting paid. It IS a lawyers responsibility to honor the law, not just WIN. And just because most lawyers jump off bridges and do what it takes to get rich doesn't mean that it is okay, right, or lawful.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    Beefcake, Feb 26th, 2008 @ 8:58am


    Point of information, as I recall wasn't Matsch the presiding judge in the Terry Nichols case or appeal or something?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    Making baseless overly-broad comments=Morality?, Feb 26th, 2008 @ 9:07am

    Finally someone with a brain - saying "most lawyers jump off bridges and do what it takes to get rich" isn't okay or right either. Am I going to deny that there are some lawyers that fit this description? Definitely not. However, saying "most" do is completely off-base. Get off your high horse and stop speaking in absolutes.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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