In addition to litigating ERISA and insurance coverage cases, I have maintained a pretty active intellectual property litigation practice for a number of years. Routinely, when I meet with business people to discuss intellectual property problems, the subject of the expense of protecting intellectual property rights and how to control legal costs in doing so comes up. This is especially the case when I talk with entrepreneurs and people at small start ups who feel that the intellectual property at the heart of their business plans has been misappropriated by someone else – often a more established competitor – but don’t think they can afford to do anything about it given the high hourly rates often charged by lawyers.
Now I have written before about better ways to fund insurance coverage litigation than simply paying counsel by the hour, and when it comes to protecting intellectual property, I tell these people the same thing, that they should not let the billable hour model frighten them off from protecting their intellectual property and vindicating their rights. There are, or should be if the lawyers they are talking to are willing to put a little skin of their own in the game, other ways to pay counsel, that are more economically feasible for businesses that don’t already have the deepest pockets in the world, but hope to some day, than paying lawyers by the hour to prosecute a patent or copyright infringement action.
And this article here presents those options quite nicely, although in more words than I use when I discuss the same topics with business folk.