The Westfalia That Won The Patent War

So some years ago I was involved as the defendant in a Patent case. The tldr of that is: went to Marshall Texas and successfully defended all claims in front of a Jury. But that is not today’s story.

You see, as part of the long and involved preparation for the case, we had decided to make it a personal reputation thing. The Jury has to decide who to believe. 2 experts, one from each side, say diametrically opposing things. But I’m there as a character witness as much as technology. So we decide we have to make me seem human. Challenge accepted!

After digging through years of company event photos (side note: I had to do this alone in my hotel room about 1/2 hour after being fired by that same company that I had founded, so it was an emotional trip through memory lane), I came up with a few. There was the photo of me dressed like a stock-photo criminal being arrested for some charity event. Our lawyers dryly passed on that. OK, moving on. I got this origin photo, my van. You see, I drove my van around the building to unveil the company name and logo I had stenciled on the side, this was a surprise to all at the time, and was loved by a reporter present. So we decided to use it as my opening exhibit.

But, and this is where it gets interesting. First, lets talk about the mechanics of the court room. 8 jurors are sitting side by each, 2 rows, w/ 4 tv screens between each pair of knees. Not fancy TV screens either, those dingy 14″ monitors that predated the millenium. And I am sitting right next to them, maybe 50cm away.

At the back of the room is 2 AV folks, one for each team. And they have an old-school A/B switch to flip between who’s exhibits are showing. For redundancy, each team has the other’s exhibits. These are in some software not entirely unlike PowerPoint.

We have deleted our title slide (which just says case #/date), so our first slide is the van. Its glorious. But, our opponents also have our slides. And, whenever either party is searching for the next exhibit, the system goes to… you guessed it, the first page. So, every exhibit that came up had a bit of airplay of my long lost mechanical beauty.

Its part of my opening, after we get the “where I grew up and how I got here” bit out of the way.

My testimony (which I have not looked at until this day), is attached. See p81 onwards if you are curious.

Now, i’ve not attached my cross-examination. I suppose you can go and find it. If you do, there is a passage in there where I say “We worked our butts off”. I had another word than butt in mind, but chose against it.

Nonethless the Judge admonished me, no comparisons to human anatomy in his courtroom.

Now, a lot of you have seen the photo of me running out of the courtroom, arms raised, in a crazy orange-ish shirt and too-short tie. But you might not know that was on purpose.

You see, after a trial in Marshall TX (which always ends fri at noon), the jury bolts. The lawyers are forbidden from approaching them after, but, likeable folk like me can linger outside and see if the Jury will stop and chat. We all leave the same door. Gavel hits, bolt.

And, during my testimony I was to wear a low-key blue shirt, tie, jacket. But, during the final phase, I was to make myself known and visibile in the audience. So, bright shirt, bad tie.

Gavel hits, we bolt for the door. 5 of 8 jurors stopped to talk to me, and 100% wanted to know more about the Van.

Who can remember the patent when you have plaid interior.

Peace out.






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