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Thursday, December 6, 2012 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
The Woodruff School's annual Harold W. Gegenheimer Lecture
To be held at the Georgia Tech Ferst Center
This year’s lecture will be given by:
Mr. Floyd Nation (BME 1968)
Partner, Winston & Strawn LLP – Houston Office
Floyd Nation is a partner in the Houston office of Winston & Strawn LLP, an international law firm with nearly 1,000 attorneys among 15 offices in the United States, Europe and Asia. Mr. Nation has been a successful trial lawyer for over 35 years, specializing in patent infringement litigation. He has tried cases concerning a variety of medical devices, oil-field and construction equipment, food processing, semiconductor devices, software and pharmaceuticals. As lead trial counsel, Mr. Nation has obtained a $45 million jury verdict in a semiconductor case, settled a medical device case near the end of trial for almost $50 million and in another matter was awarded judgment as a matter of law, thereby avoiding a $75 million verdict. He has represented clients such as 3M, The Pillsbury Company, Hillenbrand Industries, AOL, Medtronic, The Chicago Board of Trade, The University of Texas System, and CoreLogic.
Before practicing law, he earned his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology. Upon graduation, he worked for Humble Oil (now ExxonMobil) as a project engineer in the production and reservoir engineering groups. Mr. Nation left Humble Oil to attend The University of Texas School of Law where he received a JD degree with honors. Named a “Texas Super Lawyer” and ranked among the premier patent litigators in Texas, he is admitted to practice in Texas and Louisiana and before the U.S. Supreme Court, various federal circuit and district courts as well as the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
The Process of Patent Infringement Litigation
This year’s lecture concerns patents and their basic purpose – to reward and encourage inventors. A patent owner is granted the right to exclude others from using the patented invention for a limited period of time.
The focus of the talk will be on the process of protecting that right through patent infringement litigation. While current headlines describe disputes over innovations such as smartphones and awards of hundreds of millions of dollars, litigation over patent rights has existed ever since the constitution created such rights. Inventors such as Alexander Graham Bell, the Wright brothers and Samuel Morse all found litigation necessary to protect their inventions from unauthorized use by others.
A typical patent litigation requires that technology and law be combined to describe the invention and tell the story behind it. The invention’s technical features and advances over the prior art must also be explained. Substantial challenges exist in presenting the often complicated technical information within the applicable legal framework and yet also be clear, brief and understandable to a lay judge or jury. Examples will be discussed involving a variety of technologies such as frozen pizza, implantable heart defibrillators and software systems for buying and selling commodities.