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Apple v. Samsung: Expert Witnesses Weigh In

April 17, 2014

Multiple expert witnesses testified this week that Samsung did not infringe on Apple’s patents for “quick links, universal search, slide-to-unlock, and auto-correct. Kevin Jeffay, computer science professor, argued that Apple’s “647 quick-links patent is more limited than the company claims.” Quick-links allows data that can be clicked to be automatically detected. Mr. Jeffay said he does not believe Samsung has infringed that patent after pointing out that Apple’s patent uses an “analyzer server” and Samsung devices do not; this process (on Samsung devices) is performed by the application itself.

Another computer science professor, Martin Rinard, testified that after careful analysis he concluded that Samsung did not infringe Apple’s universal search patent. Furthermore, Saul Greenberg, a professor at the University of Calgary, “testified that slides are common in most user interfaces and Samsung did not copy Apple’s slide-to-unlock technology.”

Not only did the experts testify that Samsung did not infringe on Apple’s patents, they went further and testified that there was no evident commercial success that resulted from those supposed infringements. The experts said there is lack of proof that people bought iPhones because of the slide-to-unlock feature. In addition the experts believe that Apple’s patents are not valid, Martin Rinard said “the patent office didn’t have the information in front of it to make the right decision [when it granted Apple a patent for universal search].”

Samsung also questioned another expert witness, Daniel Wigdor, on the “validity of Apple’s ‘172 patent for predictive text.” Mr. Wigdor told the court that other companies had developed that auto-correct feature before Apple filed a patent for it.

Both Samsung and Apple are back at the same courthouse less than two years later fighting over patent infringements. Although millions are at stake, it seems that the more important feat is dominance over the smartphone market.

Stay tuned for what happens next, court resumes tomorrow.

 

Source: cnet

Google Glass: Technology in the Legal Industry

April 10, 2014

The legal industry and technology have found many ways to grow together; platforms such as Courtroom Insight were founded for that reason alone and again we see another instance of how technology can aid firms in their success. A pilot program, started in January, by two personal injury lawyers in Phoenix gives Google Glass devices to clients, businesses, jurors and expert witnesses.

One of the clients in the pilot program is a man who lost his arm and leg in a forklift accident. He has used Google Glass to text lawyers using voice-to-text, video conference and document his hardships as a result of the accident. Normally videos are taken by a third party but Google Glass allows others to live it through this man’s eyes. They get a first person perspective of the everyday challenges that come with such a disability.

Even more telling are the ways that this pilot program has used Google Glass in mock trials. Usually attorneys ask jurors for their opinions and feedback on the trial; however, now they can see what the jurors see. Google Glass allows attorneys to see whether the juror was “looking at the witness, the lawyers, or even the ceiling.”

This technology has even proved effective for expert witnesses who can use Google Glass to recreate an accident scene; showing the drivers perspective.

 

Source: ABA Journal

North Carolina Adopts Daubert Standards

April 2, 2014

Earlier this year, the Court of Appeals in North Carolina decided that the courts should apply the Daubert standards to expert testimony. State v. McGrady addresses the implications of the 2011 amendments to Rule 702 and confirmed that North Carolina State Courts must apply those standards.

McGrady was convicted of killing his cousin and on appeal “he argued that his expert’s testimony regarding the doctrine of ‘use of force’ was wrongfully excluded. The expert who testified for McGrady had no medical degree or education but claimed that the sources he used are regularly “relied on by people in the field of use of force, but he did not know its ‘potential rate of error’.”

The trial court found that the expert’s opinions “were based on medical knowledge that he was not qualified to discuss; his testimony was not helpful to the jury; he was not competent to testify about reaction times; his testimony was not based on sufficient facts or data; his testimony was not product of reliable principles or methods; his methods had not been subject to peer review; and his opinions were based on speculation.” The Court of Appeals affirmed the exclusion and confirmed that the amendment replaces standards set by Howerton v. Arai Helmet with Daubert. Furthermore, the court addressed that the judge will serve as gatekeeper in applying the Daubert standards.

After ten years it seems North Carolina has caught up with Rule 702 but the question remains… will this ruling last? North Carolina has been clear that it wants jury trials “as long as the expert testimony satisfies the requirements of relevance and reliability.”

Dr. Christopher Brigham Joins Courtroom Insight as Strategic Adviser

March 20, 2014

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I am excited to announce that Dr. Christopher Brigham has joined Courtroom Insight as our newest Strategic Adviser. Dr. Brigham is an internationally recognized consultant, author and speaker on medical and disability issues. He also has over 30 years experience as a board-certified occupational medicine physician.Courtroom Insight’s knowledge management solution will directly benefit from Dr. Brigham’s experience and insights. I am pleased to have him on board and look forward to his contributions.

To read the full press release, please click here.

Sincerely,

Mark Torchiana

Featured Mediator

March 17, 2014

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Name: Gregg Bertram

Location: Seattle, WA

Specialty: Mediation and Arbitration in business and commercial, personal injury, death and torts, and real estate and property.

Website: http://www.bertramadr.com/

Mediator profile description provided by Mr. Bertram:

Gregg Bertram has resolved thousands of cases in 22 years as one of Pacific Northwest’s most recognized mediators and arbitrators.

Gregg was a practicing attorney who co-founded Bennett, Bigelow and Leedom, PS, where he was focused on complex commercial litigation. He also served as corporate counsel to a very large Seattle commercial real estate developer. In addition, from 2000 to 2008, Gregg was a principal at JAMS and prior to that was affiliated with Washington Arbitration and Mediation services, where he earned the “Master Mediator” designation.

Gregg is chair of the Federal Bar Association Alternative Dispute Resolution Section, a member of the National Academy of Distinguished Neutrals, and an American Arbitration Association mediator and arbitrator. He is also an accredited neutral of the World Intellectual Property Organization and International Center of Dispute Resolution.

Be sure to check out Mr. Bertram’s mediator profile for more information:

Mediator Profile for Mr. Gregg Bertram

Final Ruling in Chevron v. Donziger Case

March 5, 2014

Tuesday brought news of a long awaited verdict; U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan ruled against Donziger in the Chevron v. Donziger case. Judge Kaplan said he found “clear and convincing evidence that attorney Steven Donziger’s legal team used bribery, fraud and extortion in pursuit of an $18 billion judgment against the oil company issued in 2011.”

Villagers in the Lago Agrio area argue that Texaco, which was acquired by Chevron, contaminated an oil field from 1964 to 1992. Whether or not the site was polluted was not being questioned, it was the way in which Donziger gained the favorable verdict in Ecuador. Judge Kaplan said “Donziger cannot use a Robin Hood defense to justify illegal behavior.”

Tuesday’s decision stops the enforcement of the Ecuadorean ruling in the United States. This verdict might also give Chevron leverage in other claims abroad.

While Chevron’s Chief Executive John Watson called the ruling “a resounding victory”, Donziger called the verdict “appalling and blamed Kaplan’s implacable hostility toward him and his Ecuadorean clients.” He also “vowed to appeal and said the ruling would not stop his clients from seeking to enforce the judgment in other countries.”

The Ecuadorean embassy said that the “decision does not exonerate Chevron from its own legal and moral responsibilities resulting from its decades of contamination.” Chevron continues to be held up in an arbitration dispute in international court regarding cleanup costs of Lago Agrio.

 

To find out more details of the case, please refer to this blog’s previous posts (October 23, 2013 and November 4, 6, and 22, 2013).

 

Sources: Reuters

Do Attorneys Need to Broaden their Skills?

February 21, 2014

Brian Pascal of The Recorder brought up an interesting point last week about “Being More Than Just a Lawyer”. Specifically honing in on privacy law, an area he believes sets itself apart by being “an academic focus, a professional discipline, and an area of public debate [that] has reached a prominence experienced by few other areas of law”. He explains that with privacy law there comes the obvious discussion of technology, often impossible to segregate the two.

He goes on to argue that when considering the role that an attorney plays in privacy law, there are two main factors: “first, we need to come to terms with the fact that except under very specific circumstances, the law plays a negligible role in the development of new technologies… The second and more important lesson is that when it comes to privacy, it is no longer enough to be ‘just a lawyer’”. Brian explains that the best lawyers understand the facts and in the case of privacy law that often means “scientific or technological elements that are not typically taught in law school”. He explains the need for attorneys who are technologically savvy that are “willing to get their hands dirty long before the fallout hits”. Here, fallout is referring to the mess attorneys are left covering up when companies who release a service then get bombarded for neglecting privacy or governments who use cutting edge technology for surveillance of their citizens get outed.

Brian lays out two examples of the type of lawyer he would like to see:

A lawyer who understands behavioral targeting and social psychology can help advertising companies balance the complex interplay between maximizing the value of extracted information and respecting customer trust. [And] a prosecutor who understands how the police located a suspect through the use of automated license plate readers can use that knowledge to make a stronger case.

But he makes a clear distinction, the idea is not to have attorneys take on the jobs of experts in various fields but they do need to understand the implications of all this new technology and how it impacts the clients, their customers and the world, because essentially “the practice of law is at its heart about the application of abstract theories to messy, changeable reality.”

 

To read more of Brian Pascal’s article click here.

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