By Licia Vaughn
DLA Piper’s Intellectual Property and Technology group hosted its ninth annual Women in IP Law CLE Luncheon at the Four Seasons Silicon Valley in late September. More than 200 guests registered to attend, 70 percent of whom were leading IP counsel for some of the Bay Area’s largest tech companies.
Showcasing women as leaders in the IP field, this year’s discussion focused on two topics: keeping ahead of privacy issues and navigating the changing world of patent litigation. Leading the discussion on privacy were panelists Karen McGee (Chief Privacy Officer, LifeLock, Inc.), Patricia Wyrod (General Counsel, IPSY.com), and DLA Piper’s Jennifer Kashatus (Washington, DC). The Honorable Marilyn L. Huff (US District Court Judge, Southern District of California), along with Global Patent Co-Chairs Claudia Frost (Houston) and Robynne Sanders (Melbourne), led the patent panel. The event was co-sponsored by ACC –SFBA and Leading Women in Technology.
All companies have privacy and data security issues. Because privacy and data security issues come in many shapes and sizes, and the rules and regulations vary and are evolving around the globe, the panel discussed how companies should prioritize these concerns. The US, unlike many other countries, has not adopted comprehensive privacy and data security laws. Instead, the US has numerous, constantly changing federal laws governing specific areas, such as financial services, children’s issues and health information. In addition, nearly every state has adopted a data breach law addressing what to do in the event of a data incident. Confusingly, these laws are far from uniform, and are constantly expanding in scope.
Panelists agreed that DLA Piper’s Cyberincident/Data Breach Response Emergency Checklist and the firm’s Preparedness Guide are valuable free resources for companies. View them here:
Judge Huff noted that in the past year there was a huge drop in patent litigation filings for the first time since 2009. More recently we have seen a revival of patent case filings – so high that Q2 2015 marked the highest number of patent case filings ever observed in one quarter (according to Lex Machina).
Impacting patent case filings have been the AIA practice (inter partes reviews and CBMs). Research shows 80 percent of IPRs have parallel district court cases which could be stayed pending the IPR’s resolution. Although such stays are not mandatory, statistics show district courts are quite willing to exercise their discretion to issue them.
The panel addressed both domestic and international jurisdictional differences in patent litigation. Judge Huff reported on the Patent Pilot Program within the Southern District of California and other US district courts. Claudia Frost addressed the Eastern District of Texas and its high volume of patent cases, along with the European Union’s upcoming Unified Patent Court, the biggest change in Europe’s patent system in history. For the first time, a patent decision in Europe will have pan-European effect, affecting in one action a market of 500 million consumers. Many commentators have predicted the UPC system will increase the number of lawsuits brought by patent trolls in Europe. To find out more about the UPC, visit DLA Piper’s dedicated UPC website: www.dlapiper.com/en/us/focus/upc/. Finally, Robynne Sanders discussed strategic options for global patent litigation, including use of the judicial systems in China and Australia, and, in particular, the Australian Innovation Patent.