After a Texas jury awarded $706 million to a housing data analytics startup based on claims of trade secret theft, major vulnerabilities were found in policies related to intellectual property law. Released information showed that the startup was distorting the facts of the case and misleading jurors. The case involved the use of the plaintiff's Automated Valuation Model, or AVM, a technology that's widely used in the online real estate industry.
Industry experts believe that current IP law is flawed partly because the plaintiff in this case was able to win its suit purely based on emotional appeals. Reports show that the company used no sales or revenue information to show that its AVM was worth hundreds of millions of dollars, instead relying on deception, lies and collusion to influence the jury. Whistle blowers from the plaintiff reported that the plaintiff had taken extensive action to hide the fact that their AVM didn't even work.
While this case is currently being appealed, the initial result is likely to spur many companies into filing lawsuits despite having dubious claims. Parties with these types of suits are known for shopping around for friendly courts and judges that appear to have lax standards. Nearly half of all patent cases in the United States are filed in the District Court for the Eastern District of Texas because it has a history of favoring plaintiffs.
Companies involved in business litigation related to intellectual property may want representation from a firm with a focus on business law. Whether the client is a plaintiff or defendant, it's the responsibility of the lawyers involved to stay as up to date on intellectual property law and cases as possible. An attorney may strive to solve even the most complicated disputes while keeping costs as contained as possible.