Carlos R Olarte
What led you to co-found OlarteMoure – and what advice do you have for anyone considering taking a similar step?
Definitely the number one driver was the pursuit of certain goals and challenges that were not aligned with the mission and vision of a general practice firm. Having an entrepreneurial mindset is a must when setting up shop; being a great attorney is not enough. Finally, building a team and aligning its values early on is critical to a sustainable business in the long run.
What are some of the biggest pressures on your clients right now – and how are you helping them meet these?
The global market is under extensive strain to react to historical inflationary pressure. For our clients, this means increased cost control measures in the short term and expecting more value from new investments in the mid to long term. Although these challenges are not new – perhaps the magnitude is – we are responding by creating new products that seek to farm out commoditised services, while ensuring that higher added value services are more refined and sustainable.
What tips do you have for seeking discovery in Colombian patent litigation?
It is still a secret that the Colombian jurisdiction provides broad discovery mechanisms that can be used to leverage regional or global litigation. I have a few tips to take advantage of this situation. First, confidentiality of documents requested is not a defence to block production of the same; it is, however, important to offer reasonable protective order measures. Second, local judicial inspections can be used to obtain physical evidence, such as samples. Third, you can file pre-litigation discovery requests before you file a complaint – meaning that the standard of relevance of the evidence requested to the eventual alleged facts is not as strict as jurisdictions that base relevance off the complaint. Lastly, e-discovery requests are available, although the procedure is still primitive compared to jurisdictions such as the United States.
SEP litigation has arrived in Colombia. What impact has this had on the local patent litigation landscape?
We were fortunate to lead the first SEP assertion campaign in Colombia, with great initial results in the form of a preliminary injunction against one of the world’s largest handset manufacturers. The case showcased the important benefits that the Colombian judicial system can provide to patent holders when it comes to obtaining effective enforcement of their assets. The campaign has catapulted patent litigation onto the forefront of the local, regional and global legal market and is starting to attract the interest of other important asset holders. The public, media, government and the Bar are also following the case closely, often actively engaging with parties to better understand the impact of the patent system on the market, competition and innovation policy.
What are some of the biggest changes that you have seen in Colombian patent litigation over the course of your career?
The first SEP litigation campaign is proving a significant milestone for Colombian patent litigation. As mentioned above, it showed patents can be enforced in Colombia, offering an efficient jurisdiction for assertion and has prompted broad-ranging discussions around the importance of patent enforcement in connection with showing a pro-innovation environment. Prior to this, the effective use of discovery mechanisms has been an important tool for obtaining evidence, leading to quicker settlements and more refined litigation. More and more practitioners are actively using these mechanisms to achieve positive results for their clients, and judges are becoming more accustomed to tailoring orders to adapt to the special needs of a case. In addition, the expert witness market has matured to the point where there is a sophisticated pool of experts in many fields. These experts are not just tech-savvy but have also developed a keen understanding of the patent system. Finally, I have observed how many judges, who previously dreaded patent cases, are starting to take a keen interest in the field, encouraging more academic participation and leadership.
Carlos R Olarte
Partner [email protected]
Founding partner of OlarteMoure, a 200+ person firm specialising in IP and competition law, Mr Olarte is a biomedical and mechanical engineer from Duke University (1990), a JD from Chicago Kent IIT (1993) and a licensed lawyer in Illinois and Colombia. His professional practice focuses on patent law, including litigation and developing strategies for monetisation of deeptech projects. An important percentage of his client base comes from the life sciences and telecom industries.