Can you tell us about some of the biggest obstacles you have faced in your professional life – and how you have overcome them?
Leading a law firm since the late 1990s has exposed me to my fair share of obstacles. There are always challenges when you manage people, but my background as an athlete and coach has given me some useful skills that help with team dynamics and attorney development.
Last year was a tough one for all businesses and we were put to the test daily, trying to keep a firm with more than 140 employees operational and healthy. We anticipated the worst and prepared for remote work capabilities well ahead of the curve. We also identified a plan to keep our support staff paid by reducing the pay of our attorneys and upper management. Many of our partners volunteered to forego their entire base pay for three months. Fortunately, our reduced pay mode only lasted a few months and by the end of the third quarter of 2020, everyone had been returned to full pay.
What are your key recommendations for conveying highly technical concepts so as to get buy-in from non-experts?
A good example of how we convey highly technical concepts to get buy-in can be found in the courtroom, when our litigators must explain highly technical concepts to a judge and jury. Given our success in patent and trade secret litigation, we have learned that using analogies and terms that are relatable to everyday business or general life works well.
Which of your cases has been the most memorable and why?
In many of our cases, we are representing a smaller entity against a much larger adversary. One involved motion detection technology developed by a small local company and inventor, which was later used by a very large electronic gaming company for a games console that made them hundreds of millions of dollars. We not only wrote the patent for the technology, but we have been representing the inventor in a patent infringement lawsuit against the larger company since 2013. The case is still in litigation and our IP litigation team has been in court numerous times in an extremely complex and tough legal battle facing much larger teams of attorneys who are throwing everything they can at us. I believe that we have a good chance of winning this case for our client.
What are the biggest challenges facing your clients at present?
We are seeing quite a few patrons dealing with employment and labour issues because of covid-19, while our hospitality clients have faced many challenges caused by the pandemic and are still feeling the impact. Many of our clients are facing worker shortages and have concerns and questions about vaccination issues.
Name three trends that you expect to have an impact on the high-tech space in the next few years?
As technology advances and streamed entertainment disrupts the industry, we see many legal areas where our attorneys’ skills in licensing, trademark, copyright and patents will be needed to protect clients.
Electronic gaming and entertainment in general will generate legal issues and litigation as more investors and money go towards this thriving industry.
Finally, we have recently launched an SEP practice, due to great demand for this in the market. As cross-industry standardisation and interoperability become more widespread, SEPs are becoming increasingly crucial components of corporate patent portfolios and IP strategies.
William A Munck
Managing Partner [email protected]
William A Munck is the managing partner of Munck Wilson Mandala, a technology-focused law firm. He chairs the firm’s technology/IP section and has successfully grown the firm from five to more than 90 attorneys in the past two decades. Mr Munck is highly ranked by Chambers and Partners in IP law and has been rated by his peers annually as a Texas Super Lawyer and featured in the Best Lawyer in America rankings since the early 2000s.
Click here to see his IAM Patent 1000 2021 profile.