Circuit Bored

Or, A Change in Direction

This last year has brought a lot of changes.

In July of 2014, I moved to Katten Muchin Rosenman, to lead its national patent litigation practice. Terrific firm, a great practice group, and lots of room to grow. (I’m here.)

Last month, I finished my MBA at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. What a journey that has been! It was truly a pleasure to work with a cohort of smart, highly focused business people and professors. Perspective is everything—and it’s vital for lawyers: I now think quite differently about my work for clients—and about the importance of innovation.

This blog is changing, too.

Until recently, I was posting at on patent issues, recent important decisions at the Federal Circuit and the Supreme Court, and other topics, including career development. That’s why you landed here. But my recent posts were moving away from solely Federal Circuit issues, for two reasons.

First, I’d become frustrated with the prevailing sentiment against protecting innovation—in the media and in Congress. Negative press about patent trolls in the last few years, most of which has been reductive and largely incorrect, has had its effect on Congress. And the Federal Circuit seems to have become reactive to this negative sentiment, making decisions that I among many others have found awkward, if not mystifying. (Cybor. Nautilus. Alice. The CAFC might soon be looking to get out of the Limelight!)

Second, innovation is much more than just patents. As an IP lawyer, it’s easy to get buried in the finer points of law, to talk about patent cases and cite decisions at the CAFC and other courts, and discuss the implications for future rulings.

Innovation is the primary driver of successful business. Protecting it is my business. Today’s corporations need focused strategies for best protecting their intellectual property, and legal services with an eye to supporting business objectives—from portfolio planning to case review to litigation strategy. Even innovative approaches to billing.

Thus the new name of this blog: business de novo. Rather than being just one more voice commenting on or criticizing Federal Circuit decisions, I’m more interested in the business of IP, and where my skills and services fit into that.

What makes innovation profitable? What’s the right equation? We should be determining risk and potential return on investment logically, using all available data. Certainly, the variables include protection and licensing. They include addressing infringement, comprehensively. They also include analyzing how to run patent litigations using business principles, predictably, without hourly billing, but providing clear estimates that are upheld through experience.

So, a turn away from just commenting on issues before the Federal Circuit—though that will still be in view much of the time. Importantly, since I find innovation intrinsically interesting and it’s what prompted me to go into IP in the first place, I’m looking to keep this blog focused on what excites and energizes me: being part of the innovating community.

Business de novo. Discussing innovation—at the intersection of business and law. Here we go.



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