On Saturday, October 4, 2014, the Innovation, Business and Law Center hosted a one-day seminar on the Essentials of Patent Litigation. Susan H. Griffen, a partner in the Washington, DC, office of global IP law firm Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner, LLP, taught the course. Griffen’s practice focuses on patent infringement litigation, particularly in the fields of biotechnology and pharmaceuticals. She earned her law degree from the University of Iowa College of Law in 1982.

The seminar covered how litigation unfolds, litigation strategy, and the role of junior attorneys. “Griffen didn’t focus on patent law doctrine as much as showing how a patent case really works and what to expect,” explained 2L Alex Lodge. “She answered a lot of questions that a more doctrinal course might not cover.”

To prepare for the seminar, the 11 students who attended reviewed the PowerPoint slides of Griffen’s presentation as well as materials related to a hypothetical case. “I expected to read cases, but instead we reviewed evidentiary emails and other documents,” Lodge continued. During the seminar students discussed how the documents strengthened or weakened the case, as well as other information they would need to obtain and how to obtain it.

Griffen’s professional experience stood out to the students who attended the seminar. “It was great exposure to the highest level of patent litigation,” said Adam Foresman, a 2L. “[Griffen’s] time is valuable, so to have opportunity to get free access was too good to turn down, even on a Saturday.”

Students also appreciated how the course connected the high-level litigation strategy to the role of junior attorneys. “Throughout the day Griffen highlighted typical associate tasks and how to use them to distinguish yourself from other associates,” said Brianna Chamberlin, a 1L.

“This seminar gave students a unique opportunity to learn from a fantastic patent litigator. We are so grateful to Susan for sharing her insights with our students,” said Professor Jason Rantanen of the College of Law, “and we hope to offer other one-day seminars like this one in the future.” 

--Jay Stirling | October 13, 2014

Susan Griffen, JD '82