Now that we know patent disputes are arbitrable, the logical question is whether there are benefits to arbitration over litigation. The answer is a resounding yes.
One of the more significant benefits is the ability to select qualified arbitrators.
Suffice it to say, patent law is a highly specialized practice area. In addition to general legal education and qualifications, most countries require patent attorneys to have:
- specialized legal training;
- successful completion of a specialized examination process; and/or
- a period of supervised work.
Because of the complex technical character of patent law, many countries require patent attorneys to have technical degrees in addition to their legal training (e.g., Australia, Austria, Belgium, China, EPO, France, Finland, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, India, Italy, Israel, Netherlands, South Africa, Switzerland, Sweden, USA).
Given the extensive steps taken to ensure patent applicants receive qualified representation, it would make no sense to have patent infringement and invalidity claims decided by a lay judge. But this is exactly what happens in most countries. In the US, the determination of patent infringement and invalidity are submitted to a lay jury.
Arbitration affords the parties the opportunity to have their patent disputes resolved with the same or greater level of care that was exerted to obtain the patent in the first instance. Parties are free to appoint arbitrators with practical patent knowledge and experience, relevant technical education, particular industry experience and/or other preferred qualifications.
Having a qualified arbitral tribunal can reduce the uncertainties of the dispute resolution process and result in a more reasoned decision concerning what can be exceedingly complex technical issues. In addition, having qualified arbitrators reduces the burden of educating the trier-of-fact, facilitating a more focused proceeding and timely resolution at a lower overall cost.
Contact us for a free consultation and let us explain how we can help you successfully resolve your next patent dispute in a more timely and cost-effective manner.