Contingent Fee Business Litigation Blog

Patent Litigation On A Contingent Fee

            In  “Patent Payday,” (, 2/12/08) Nathan Vardi discusses institutional investors such as Rembrandt IP Management, Altitude Capital Partners and NW Patent Funding that have raised capital to acquire and enforce patent rights. One of the investors, Michael Cannata, sees such funds as leveling the playing field in David v. Goliath battles. He is right.

            According to the 2007 American Intellectual Property Law Association’s “Report of the Economic Survey,” the mean (average) cost of a small patent infringement case in Texas is approximately $3,000,000 through trial! Most individual inventors and entrepreneurs do not have the money to pay hourly lawyers such fees to enforce their rights. Some law firms, including mine, have the ability to take a patent case on a contingent fee, where we advance the case expenses and receive a fee only if we achieve a settlement. Without the institutional investors and contingent fee lawyers, however, the little guy would be simply out of luck in trying to enforce his patent rights. 

            Mr. Vardi mentions pending legislation in the U.S. Senate, pushed by large technology companies, to limit the rights of plaintiffs and make litigation even more expensive. The intent of such legislation is obvious. If the price of admission to the playing field can be made so high that only the big companies can afford to play, the smaller companies can either be litigated to death or acquired on the cheap.

            If the institutional investors can help insure access to the court system by all, then more power to them! They, together with contingent fee lawyers like my firm, can indeed level the playing field.

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