Law Firms

Dickstein Shapiro Faces $250M Suit Claiming Botched Patent Application

Encyclopaedia Britannica has filed a $250 million malpractice suit against Dickstein Shapiro that alleges the law firm mishandled the company’s patents.

The suit contends the law firm’s errors caused Encyclopaedia Britannica to lose a $250 million patent infringement case filed against GPS manufacturers, the National Law Journal reports. Encyclopaedia Britannica had contended the GPS makers were using technology stemming from its patented technology covering the use of multimedia search systems on CD-ROM, according to the NLJ and Courthouse News Service.

A judge agreed with lawyers representing the GPA manufacturers and declared two Encyclopaedia Britannica patents invalid last year, the NLJ says.

The suit (PDF posted by Courthouse News Service) claims the firm made matters worse when it filed an affidavit with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office saying patent continuation problems were the result of a clerical error and there was no intention to abandon the two patents, the NLJ story says.

The affidavit “essentially confesses negligence on the part of EB’s counsel Dickstein” and “doomed any possibility of the PTO granting relief,” the suit says.

The suit also alleges Dickstein Shapiro alerted its insurer it would probably be sued for malpractice, without notifying Encyclopaedia Britannica.

Goodwin Procter partner John Aldock is representing Dickstein Shapiro. “The complaint is based on a mischaracterization of the facts and the law,” Aldock told the National Law Journal. “The lawsuit is without merit and will be vigorously defended.”

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