Excerpted from SEAK’s DVD and Course: How to Excel as an Expert Witness in Patent Cases: Special Techniques
Okay, let’s talk about direct examination. We have, like, an hour left. One of the things that I noted when I was doing research for this course…I looked at a survey that Law 360 did, which is a law website, and they did a survey of the district court judges on patent cases. And one of the big things, in my view, becomes how much time each side has on a case. Now normally, in a personal injury case, a criminal case, a civil case, these cases can drag on forever, okay? You know, O.J. Simpson’s case went on for six months, or whatever it was. I mean, you know, these cross-examinations on cases go on for weeks, and the judge is sitting there, and everybody’s fine, and it just goes on and on. Well, that’s not what’s happening with patent cases. The patent cases, the judges are pretty strict. So the survey they did, they surveyed all the district court judges on patent cases, and they asked two questions…average time allotted in patent cases for simple and complex cases. 70% of the judge said 7 to 14 days for a simple case, 14 days for a complex case. Some judges, as you might expect, are much stricter…20 hours per side no matter how complex the case is. Well, you got 15 patents, you got 6 experts. Man, you gotta talk real fast, okay? Because now the time is compressed. And that becomes a very important part of this direct and cross-examination. Some of them said that the trial has to be completed within six days. So, what’s gonna happen as a result of that? Counsel with the expert has to hone in on exactly what they’re going to say and what they’re going to do. Everything has to be choreographed to the nth degree. There’s no time for counsel, generally speaking, to ask you open-ended questions, and have you, you know, tell the history of Western civilization and eventually get around to the case. There’s no time for that. There are people with stopwatches literally clicking a stopwatch, and the lawyer has six hours to try a case. And at the end of the six hours, they have to sit down. So, if they haven’t finished their case, there’s a big problem. So, there’s a time pressure on the lawyers and that translated over and actually, it’s probably a good thing for you. So on direct examination, a couple of things happen. They will have less time to what I call “humanize” you as a great person. They’ll do it, but it’s very shortcut.