Over the past several years, using patents to protect innovation has become increasingly complicated as technology itself has exploded in sophistication and complexity. This is especially true in the realm of software. In the United States, patents are currently being used as both swords and shields in attacks on software innovation. This dynamic tension is most evident in the context of so-called patent assertion entities (PAEs) or nonpracticing entities (NPEs), otherwise known in the geek community as “patent trolls.”
I am a big fan of technology as an enabler of individuals. But I am also an ardent supporter of privacy and personal freedom. These days, those two ideas often clash in ways that seem impossible to resolve. I am hoping that as a society we will be able to reconcile them, but it won’t be easy.
In keeping with this month’s theme, I thought I would provide a basic introduction to a risk assessment technique that in my opinion has been somewhat neglected recently. Decision tree analysis has been around since the early 1950s but is as useful today as it was back then — maybe even more so.
Given the environmental and energy theme of this issue of the Docket, I thought it only fitting to talk about these topics in the context of our own use of personal technology. That’s right, the column you’ve all (some? anyone?) been clamoring for will focus on batteries.
The technology we use daily is becoming more capable and, therefore, more complex. In our modern landscape, we have a somewhat confusing mixture of (1) company-issued and maintained devices, (2) bring-your-own devices that often have company-imposed and technologically enforced requirements and restrictions, and (3) personal and independently owned and maintained devices. It is sometimes hard to know what best practices should be followed to maintain your personal tech. Here is some general advice.
As a lawyer, you are trained to understand how your clients’ business processes work. A lawyer who understands technology may be able to suggest ways to improve those processes that may not arise in your company’s IT team, which typically only gets involved when asked. Or, you may be able to suggest ways your entire legal department can better leverage technology as a group.
With the recent implementation of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation, you’ve been hearing plenty of talk about cross-border risks for your company — the risks of moving the wrong data across the wrong borders in the wrong ways. This column covers a different but related risk: The risk that your law department is not allowing the right data to move across the right borders in the right ways.
For some of us, litigation management is a necessary evil; for others, it’s work we love. Either way, it’s no surprise that technology can dramatically improve litigation management. In fact, litigation has spurred the creation of some of the best legal technology at our disposal.
These days, more and more of the people you will be permitted to hire, including lawyers, paralegals, admins, and compliance professionals, may also have technology skills that will help you address your needs. Consider adding those skills to your job specifications in the future.
Could people’s identities be verified by a unique biometric? And would all transactions be recorded on blockchain? Tech Toolbox Columnist Gregory Stern hypothesizes what the not-too-distant future might hold.
However, many law departments don’t have a systematic process in place to ensure that all of the drafting done by lawyers in their department is done efficiently, consistently, and accurately. This is where having a departmental precedent library can make a huge difference.
Creating a knowledge management program is a collaborative activity that should engage all members of the department. Everyone has something to contribute, and everyone has a stake in making sure the program is a success. And if done right, knowledge management programs can be a lot of fun. The initial investment of time will pay enormous dividends for each individual lawyer, department, and company.
You’ve probably heard a lot about artificial intelligence (AI) recently and wondered whether it matters to you. It may already impact your career, and if it hasn’t yet, it almost certainly will. Here’s why.
While modern computers and mobile devices can do great things right out of the box, they prove even more useful if you learn how to use automation tools. And you don’t need to be a programmer or nerd (well OK, maybe a little bit of a nerd) to use them.
Because the written word is such a critical part of any lawyer’s toolkit, I am going to address the ways that technology can improve the readability of your writing so it will have a stronger impact on your audience.