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Two Silly Ways to Make Serious Points

Friday, December 7, 2012
posted by Rita Handrich

We like to be entertained. But we tend to overlook frivolity when potential lawsuit damages are staggering. Yet perhaps we shouldn’t. We like visual evidence a lot. But we know there is often resistance to using light-hearted persuasion efforts in high-stakes litigation. These two examples, though, could be very persuasive. And because of that, they are important to watch.

The first is apparently a viral video hit called “Dumb Ways to Die”. It’s silly. It’s in pastel colors. It’s a cartoon. It has a catchy and repetitive tune with almost an earworm sort of quality. And ultimately, it’s a PSA about train safety.

It has a very serious message presented in a glib and entertaining way. It is memorable. As is this next video.

We do a lot of patent litigation as well as work on intellectual property issues. We’ve found an educational (although sadly dated) video by the Federal Judicial Center on the patent system is very useful for mock jurors. It helps them understand how the system works and introduces them to terms they will hear repeatedly. It would be terrific if there was a catchier, updated version of that video.

But we don’t have one for you! What we do have is a catchy and modern video (clearly not produced in an effort to educate in an unbiased way) on why software patents are unnecessary! In this easy to watch and understand video, Marginal Revolution writer and George Mason economics professor Alex Tabarrok argues for an end to software patents. It isn’t goofy like “Dumb Ways to Die” but it is cartoon-based and has a powerful argument (for freeware and open source advocates). We are not getting into the fray, but it’s worth watching.

The point of showing you these two, arguably frivolous videos is to illustrate how a good video can be both entertaining and informative. You want jurors to remember your points. You want your arguments to make sense. You also want them to stay awake during the often dry and technical arguments of a patent or IP case. This style of video will both educate and entertain. Yes, it’s a risk. But so are dry and boring patent tutorials.

So, when confronted with the question of “which risk is worth taking for my case?”, it’s time to do some testing with mock jurors. They’ll tell you how to get the story across.

***We appreciate being included in the ABA Blawg 100 for the third year in a row! If you like our blawg, take a minute to vote for us here (under the Trial Practice category). Thanks! Doug and Rita***

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