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http://ssrn.com/abstract=1745540
 
 

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IP Legal Ethics in the Everyday Practice of Law: An Empirical Perspective on Patent Litigators


William T. Gallagher


Golden Gate University School of Law

January 22, 2011

John Marshall Review of Intellectual Property Law, Vol. 10, p. 309, 2011

Abstract:     
This article presents preliminary findings from a qualitative empirical study of patent litigators. Part of a larger and ongoing project studying intellectual property lawyers in patent, trademark, and copyright enforcement and litigation actions, this article focuses on ethical decision-making by patent litigators in the pretrial discovery process. The article is based on data from in-depth, semi-structured interviews with fifty-five patent litigators and from a detailed case study of the infamous Qualcomm patent sanctions case. The article critically examines how patent litigators perceive of and respond to ethical issues that arise in the discovery process. It also analyzes the structural and cultural factors that influence ethical decision-making, as patent litigators navigate the multiple and often conflicting demands made throughout the discovery process by clients, firms, colleagues, and ethical rules. A significant finding from this study is that the threat of Qualcomm-like discovery sanctions is largely irrelevant to the everyday practice of patent litigators and has had little effect on their ethical decision-making. To-date there are few empirical studies of intellectual property lawyers or of legal ethics “in action.” This study begins to fill that gap.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 57

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Date posted: January 23, 2011 ; Last revised: January 29, 2011

Suggested Citation

Gallagher, William T., IP Legal Ethics in the Everyday Practice of Law: An Empirical Perspective on Patent Litigators (January 22, 2011). John Marshall Review of Intellectual Property Law, Vol. 10, p. 309, 2011. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1745540

Contact Information

William T. Gallagher (Contact Author)
Golden Gate University School of Law ( email )
536 Mission Street
San Francisco, CA 94105
United States
(415) 369-5339 (Phone)
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