Law360 Honors Desmarais LLP as Trials Group of the Year
Law360 named Desmarais LLP a 2018 Trials Group of the Year. The legal news publication recognized five top trial law firms from the more than 750 submissions to its 2018 Practice Group of the Year awards.
Desmarais LLP’s 2018 courtroom success was highlighted by an $82.5 million jury verdict for IBM. At trial, the firm overcame a unique challenge to secure a jury-trial victory for IBM against Groupon. The trial team established that four decades-old IBM patents were essential for modern online shopping. Two of the patents were critical for e-commerce transactions, and two were originally created for Prodigy, an IBM-affiliate in the ‘80s and ‘90s with one of the earliest graphical user interfaces.
"They were ideas that were just being invented at the time by IBM about how to do online commerce,” firm partner John Desmarais said, noting that the firm found documents and evidence that demonstrated “how breathtaking the patents really were.”
The $82.5 million trial win for IBM led to a settlement with Groupon two months later for $57.5 million.
Desmarais LLP is well-positioned for courtroom success with more than 50 litigation-focused attorneys. The firm primarily handles patent litigation and other technology-related suits in the commercial, technical, and life sciences areas.
Desmarais LLP conducts firmwide trial training programs several times a year, which include mock trials run by the partners who coach younger attorneys on the finer points of trial practice, Desmarais told Law360. The training is important because next-generation attorneys at Desmarais LLP quickly receive opportunities for real trial work, he said.
"The whole firm essentially works together with a shared mission and a shared vision," Desmarais said.
Desmarais LLP’s trial-first approach to litigation has played a key role in cases that did not reach trial, including a $400 million favorable settlement for Cisco Systems with Arista Networks on the eve of trial in 2018. The firm looks at each step in the litigation process to assess how it could impact the case at trial, Karim Oussayef, partner at the firm, told Law360.
“[W]e really try to develop the case with an eye towards what will be successful in front of the jury, not just what will be successful in front of the judge," Oussayef said.
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