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As Troll Debate Rages, Firms Pressed To Pick Sides

Publication Date: 
October 07, 2013
Source: 
The Recorder
Author: 
Chelsea Allison

Stanford Law Professor Mark Lemley weighs in on the debate over representing patent trolls and picking sides in The Recorder.

As the rhetoric over patent trolling reaches a fevered pitch, litigation clients — on both sides — are demanding greater allegiance from their outside counsel.

At this year's American Bar Association Conference in San Francisco, for example, LinkedIn general counsel Erika Rottenberg told a roomful of people that her company asks firms about their NPE work — and that dissembling could be a deal-breaker.

"While only a few [companies] have laid down a blanket 'no one who represents trolls will represent us' rule, I think the general sense in most Valley firms today is that as a practical matter you have to pick a side," Mark Lemley, director of the Stanford Program in Law, Science, and Technology, wrote in an e-mail.

...

An analysis of IP litigation data compiled by Lex Machina suggests major tech firms are fading from a certain side of the docket. Intellectual Ventures, for one, has been represented by the likes of Weil, Gotshal & Manges; Irell & Manella and Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan in the past. But this calendar year, the list of firms filing suits on its behalf is dominated by IP boutiques like Farnan, Desmarais and Tensegrity.