Expert witnesses play an important role in patent litigation. When litigating a patent infringement case, expert witness testimony can mean the difference between winning and losing. An expert witness can testify on both the merits of your invention and any technical components.
Patent litigation may involve both inside and outside experts. An inside expert works with the patent litigation attorneys and helps with identifying potential outside experts that may be necessary for explaining. Outside experts typically come from consulting firms, government agencies or businesses.
Have a thorough understanding of the issues involved
When choosing your experts, first consider which specific areas require evidence to be provided and seek out experts with experience in those areas. Keep in mind that the subject areas may change throughout the course of the patent litigation.
Once potential experts are identified, they should be evaluated based on their:
- Academic credentials
- Practical experience
- Expertise on the specific subject
- Communication abilities
An expert’s academic qualifications are extremely important during the selection process. Notable academic qualifications will bolster the impression that the opinions offered on the specific issue are credible and reliable. Their past practical experience will demonstrate that their opinion is based on more than book knowledge.
An expert’s communications skills should be taken as seriously as the other factors. An expert with the most knowledge and expertise on any given subject must also be able to explain the concepts clearly to laypersons, who are more likely to discount the testimony if they are confused or bored.
Prior experience and personality matter
Experts who have prior experience testifying commonly perform better. They are likely to be better adapted to communicating under pressure and be familiar with cross examination. Even if you find an expert that fits all these criteria, provide them with an overview of the current litigation and ensure that they have enough time to dedicate to the case and are readily available.
Finally, do not overlook basic human traits such as fairness, honesty and a good attitude. Even the best expert with a poor attitude can do more harm than good.