High Tech Law Is an Essential Feature of Any Tech Firm’s Success
High tech law is a broad and dynamic field that many exciting startups will have to address, and which is a significant component of the legal budgets of large companies across the globe. A high tech lawyer may have a practice that encompasses the following specialties: internet advertising, antipiracy, copyright and copyright infringement, trade secret protection, patent prosecution and patent litigation, trademark law, privacy law, technology licensing, corporate and commercial law, financing law, defamation law, international law, and various fields of litigation. In an online world without borders, international issues are never far away from the good high tech lawyer.
High tech law is not without its abuse. In the United States, patent trolls have amassed large patent portfolios and their business model is to sue as many companies as possible and try to reach settlements involving ongoing license or royalty payments. The US Patent and Trademark Office permitted many software patents and business method patents that are viewed as overly broad and permissive by other companies (an example is the patent on the double click). This has led to massive patent litigation in the United States over software and business methods that is largely absent in other major markets.
Larger companies have responded to this litigious patent landscape by acquiring as many patents of their own, in part for defensive reasons, as many patent settlements involve cross-patents by the parties.
Nonetheless, any companies that depend on technology or ecommerce for their success need to establish a meaningful high tech law budget in order to protect their intangible assets, and prosper.