A 2007 Federal Circuit ruling (In re Seagate Technology, LLC) significantly changed the law of willful infringement, with profound impact on patent litigation and patent opinion practice. Reducing the consequences of failing to get a costly, formal opinion, these changes do not reduce the risk of being found liable for infringement

At Wolf Greenfield, our clients count on our opinions to help them avoid litigation by designing around patents or by developing strong invalidity and non-infringement positions. Should they get into litigation, clients rely on our opinions to provide a roadmap to a successful defense and to avoid claims of willful infringement.

Fortunately for our clients, a written analysis or opinion can now be effective without the level of formality and detail, and the associated cost, that used to be required. Clients rely on our experienced judgment to determine the appropriate cost / benefit level of detail on a case-by-case basis.

The type of opinion we write is determined by a client’s business issues. When an acquisition or other important business deal is in the making, our clients need to know the technology involved is free of claims of infringement and that claims in the patents provide the necessary level of coverage. Likewise, our clients and their investors turn to us for clearance opinions when launching new products or doing diligence work. Pre-litigation and trademark opinions are also common. The level of formality is dictated by the circumstances and determines the detail and cost.

Our clients place a high value on the depth of scientific and technical knowledge we bring to providing well-informed, carefully analyzed opinions. For almost any technology at issue, we have someone in-house who either has experience in that area or did their PhD work in that field. Thorough knowledge of the technology is a critical factor in preparing opinions that can withstand challenge and upon which our clients can rely.

The scale of our opinion practice means we are efficient as well as effective. Tracking decisions that impact infringement and validity, we keep up-to-date on the law through informal, firm-wide weekly sessions and specific, formal training. Our clients find comfort in knowing that every opinion is either written or reviewed by a shareholder who has years of experience in the writing of opinions and the analysis that goes into them.