It seems that being branded an “intellectual” is widely regarded as an insult in the United States. U.S. Politicians fear being labeled “egg-heads.” We seem to revere the doers and sneer at the thinkers (as if one can succeed without the other).
There seems to be a deep conviction among many Americans that “intellectuals” (1) think they are smarter than the rest of us are, (2) are pretentious, and (3) are more worthy of our contempt than our respect. This explains the success of so many U.S. politicians, who are so obviously unintelligent and so actively anti-intellectual.
Not all of us think this way. A few of us think “intellectuals” are the most learned, intelligent, and maybe even admirable among us. And, for these people, “intellectual property” law seems inherently attractive, distinguished, impressive, and fascinating. The notion of inventions, of the commodification of ideas, the monetization of human thought!
The very words, the very notion, of “intellectual property” (“IP”) hints at the complexity of this area of the law and IP lawyers are among the most highly credentialed and highly paid lawyers. But, with the greater complexity and the higher pay, comes some higher risk.
U.S. IP litigation is probably the most expensive civil litigation on earth. The stakes, as everyone knows, can be enormous. Because slapping a defendant with, say, a patent infringement case can result in many years and millions of dollars worth of lawyering, courts will give a harder look at such claims that, in hindsight, are found to have been “exceptionally unmeritorious” (see the linked Report & Recommendation at p. 26).
Plaintiff M-I Drilling Fluids UK Ltd., represented by high-powered lawyers from Alston & Bird and, locally, from distinguished IP lawyers at Patterson, Thuente, Christensen, Pedersen PA, brought a lawsuit against Dynamic Air, Inc., apparently based on alleged patent infringement by Dynamic Air Limitada, a presumably related but non-identical Brazilian company.
This past week, U.S. Chief Judge John R. Tunheim (D. Minn.) adopted the earlier Report and Recommendation (linked above) and upheld sanctions against the plaintiff in this multi-year disaster which, ultimately, M-I Drilling dropped without recovering a nickel.