Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics

“”There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.” 

                                                           –Samuel Clemens

In a recent post, I listed the Top Ten Federal Circuit Oral Advocates of 2006 [Link].  As an afterthought to compiling that list, I checked to see which of the oral advocates were also registered patent attorneys.  Interestingly, five on the list were registered patent attorneys and five were not.  I was curious how those numbers compared to the entire pool of oral advocates arguing patent cases at the Federal Circuit in 2006.

What I found was that the numbers tracked closely.  There were 106 registered attorneys and 103 unregistered attorneys that argued patent cases before the Federal Circuit in 2006:

Appellant                     Appellee

59*/41                         47*/62

*Registered Patent Attorney

The reason that there are more attorneys in the appellant category is that in some cases there were multiple defendants and that led to multiple defendant attorneys arguing at oral argument — after listening to many oral arguments, I can tell you that that approach rarely comes across well.  Also, for purposes of this comparison, I categorized a cross-appellant in the appellee category.

I’ll leave it to others to argue why the appellant and appellee ratios are lopsided.  Do the unregistered attorneys constitute the majority in the appellee category and the minority in the appellant category because unregistered attorneys are more talented litigators and therefore more successful at the trial level?  Or, do the numbers suggest that general practice firms are more successful at trial than IP focused firms?  Or, do they suggest that non-practicing entities are more often represented by unregistered attorneys?  Lies, damned lies, and statistics.

Comments are closed.