Intellectual property (IP) underlies much litigation in the bioeconomy and elsewhere. Topics like freedom to operate and patent infringement can be extraordinarily complex and highly technical, sometimes turning on the interpretation of a single word in a contract, patent claim, or patent specification. Companies involved in litigation often need expert witnesses concerning topics like aquaculture, biochemicals, bioplastics, biogas production, biogas upgrading, catalysis, cellulose, feedstocks, fermentation, food ingredients, gasification, gas-to-liquids, industrial chemicals, biocarbon, biochar, activated carbons, neutraceuticals, polymers, polymer recycling, renewable diesel, renewable jet fuel, renewable chemicals, rubber, and solvents.
Intellectual property includes intangible creations of the human intellect defined in documentation. There are many types of intellectual property; some countries recognize more than others. Patents are one of the best-known types of IP, in addition to copyrights, trademarks, and trade secrets. A patent gives its owner the legal right to exclude others from making, using, selling, practicing, or importing an invention for a limited period of years in exchange for publicly disclosing the invention. In most areas of the bioeconomy, patents are an essential competitive advantage.
The intangible nature of intellectual property presents difficulties when compared with physical property like land or possessions. A patent can be likened to a property deed defining a physical plot of land one owns. But unlike land that can be defined physically by a fence or hedge, the boundaries of a patent are defined by the words of the claims.
Intellectual property rights fall under civil law, and the IP owner needs to sue someone for infringing a patent or trademark to enforce his or her rights. In particular, due to the complex nature of the technology described by a patent and the esoteric language utilized in writing patents, very specialized expertise is required to properly interpret patent claims and specifications. Familiarity with the technology or product at issue and the arcane terminology of the patent literature makes for an ideal expert witness in intellectual property disputes.
An expert witness is someone hired to assist a party or attorney better understand the matters and testify in the legal proceeding. Some experts are hired to assist with a determination of exactly what happened and who was at fault. Others are hired to assist with determining the damages that occurred. Many are hired to help support both issues.
While a judge determines whether one qualifies as an expert and can testify as such, the jury is normally free to decide how much weight and credibility to give the expert’s opinion. Thus, it is very important to choose an expert with the proper credentials and who can effectively translate complex, technical matters into terms that juries can easily understand.
At Lee Enterprises Consulting, our experts are the top specialists in their fields. They average over 30 years of experience; testifying as an expert is only a small part of their professional work. We have generalized training for all our experts, whom we refer as expert witnesses, ensuring they understand their role in a proceeding and can check for conflicts before engagement. We stress the importance of Daubert qualifications and the relationship they need to have with the hiring attorneys. For a full discussion on expert witnesses and hiring those in the bioeconomy, see our two articles: “The Expert Witness in Biofuels and Biochemicals Litigation” and “Hiring An Expert Witness in The Bioeconomy.” We also have highly qualified experts to assist you with any bioeconomy-related matter. Feel free to call or email us for more information.