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Graphics in Pre-Trial Motions & Hearings: An Early Advantage – Part II

In Part I, you learned how metaphors and imagery can be used to help the judge conceptualize difficult and/or abstract case points. So now let’s discuss how clear, concise graphics or animations can be used in technical hearings to ensure that the judge understands all the necessary details of your case:

Pre-Trial Graphics to Teach & Compare

Sometimes a hearing needs less a clever analogy, and more a straightforward, demonstrative visual.  But such situations certainly do not diminish the need for creativity and quality.  Planning and executing graphics that will give the judge a crystal-clear understanding of the product, technology, expert theories, etc., in a technology tutorial, claim construction (“Markman”) hearing or Daubert/Frye hearing requires great forethought and a significant time commitment.

Moreover, technical hearings may at times be conjoined with, or closely followed by, additional hearings, like summary judgment, for which your polished graphics can set the stage and even perform double duty.  Take the following example:

A Markman hearing will often revolve around graphics like document callouts (since it focuses on the interpretation of patent language).  Here it can be useful to provide graphics that help the judge see and understand more clearly how the different parts of the patent file, or other sources, support your position on what the patent means.  You’ll probably also want an initial tutorial about the technology involved in the case.

In this same case, the Markman could be coupled with, or followed by, a motion for summary judgment in which you attempt to demonstrate the similarity (or dissimilarity) between the accused product and the patented claims.

The following (Fig. 4) illustrates one such instance in which having spot-on visuals up front played a versatile role in a case.

Figure 4: Toothbrush Comparison

A series of animations set the tone for why the disputed claim terms mattered while simultaneously demonstrating why our client should win summary judgment: After first clarifying the concepts of frequency and amplitude, the graphics morphed into our client’s toothbrush as it was designed and patented.  We emphasized the key physical elements of the design, then morphed the image again into that of the opponent’s infringing device; in doing so, we showed that, while components of the infringing device may appear dissimilar, they in fact work exactly alike.

Our website features additional examples of tutorial graphics used in complex technical cases, including one involving an exercise equipment accident, and another for How the Medical Care System Works.

Early Action Yields Lasting Benefits

Utilizing a professional graphics team early on can feel like a luxury.  In any of the examples provided in this two-part blog, the talented attorneys undoubtedly could have argued their points with words alone.  But being able to show – rather than merely tell – cemented each of the facts, drove home each point and provided simple, convincing visual representations of potentially complex or abstract ideas.

And the benefits of crafting graphics early don’t end there.  As one client put it, “Graphics focus my experts and help to refine my case themes.”  Not to mention, if the case does go to trial or you decide to perform jury research, you’ll have litigation-ready graphics already prepared.  And even if the case eventually steers toward settlement (as many do), great graphics communicate strength, preparedness and resolve to your opponent.  In the words of another client, “The best way to get a good settlement is to show them you’re ready to go to trial.”

Armed with high-quality graphics, these clients were able to make big gains long before trial.


By:  Adam Bloomberg, Managing Director – Visual Communications

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