Complex and high stakes business litigation can be very expensive, as far as legal fees and other costs that a company would incur. It depends upon the discovery strategy and the litigation strategy that the parties adopt, but it is often very contentious litigation and there is also an emotional aspect that can be disruptive. Many business people, however, understand that litigation is a part of the business and they are equipped to deal with these aspects of litigation.
What Types Of Cases Would You Consider High Stakes? What Area Of Business Law Is This?
High stakes litigation is any case that affects the future viability of a business and involves acts of unfair competition by a business competitor. For example, trademark infringement, copyright infringement, or patent infringement are all cases where companies need to protect their intellectual property, which is oftentimes the most valuable asset of a company. Also, trade secret cases, where a former employee takes trade secrets or confidential information from a company and goes out to compete with them. These are all considered acts of unfair competition.
What Has Your Experience Been In Handling High Stakes Business Litigation Cases?
These are cases that need to be taken very seriously. If you don’t prevail, you could lose your business. If your most valuable assets are your trade secrets or trademarks and you face losing those, you need to dig in and litigate. These cases are very expensive, but they are also very serious. We are talking about possibly losing your most valuable assets and the goodwill of your company. My experience has been that business owners need to stand their ground and really take these matters seriously and actively litigate them.
Is It Generally A Sole Attorney Or A Team Of Attorneys That Handle These Cases At Your Firm?
I’m a sole practitioner, but if I have a case like a patent infringement litigation, I will bring in someone experienced in patent litigation. That is a very specialized field. At times, I have brought in co-counsel, but I primarily handle everything myself. I don’t like to delegate because if I do everything myself, I’m familiar with every aspect of the case.
How Long Do These Complex Litigation Cases Typically Take?
In California, the state courts try to dispose of the cases within one year of the filing of the complaint. If that isn’t possible, then they try to dispose within 18 months, but that doesn’t always happen either. In the federal courts, there is no telling. It can take years. A trial in a complex business litigation case may take several days or several months.
It has been said that all battles are won before they begin, which is an interesting comment that I find to be true in high stakes business litigation. You have to spend so much time preparing for the trial, making sure you cover every aspect of your case. Hopefully, if you are well prepared, you can streamline the amount of trial time. Still, there is no guarantee how long litigation will take. Many times it’s likely to take a minimum of a year, plus a trial.
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