The motions that are filed at the U.S. Patent Trial and Appeal Board all need to be authorized in advance. In other words, attorneys and their clients have to request a phone conference and there's a very active practice of getting on the phone with the board and opposing council, presenting your arguments and reacting to what the board is suggesting because they deliver a lot advice in these calls.

There are a couple of aspects of this process that some clients are surprised by: one is the substantive level of detail in these calls, even if they're proposed for the purpose of doing something administrative. In addition, it actually happens that the board -- because it's so informed about the cases -- will dig into very substantive details in a call that starts about scheduling.

It's really important for our attorneys to establish an open line of communication with our clients. It enables us to understand the kinds of things that can come up in these calls so we're ready and we have our positions laid out. It's that kind of strategic planning and preparation that can really make a difference between a result that the company is unhappy with and one that's a great win for the client.

Originally published on May 20, 2014

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