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Morgan Smith

Case In Point: How Animations Helped Attorneys in Patent Litigation

Screen Shot 2013-05-21 at 12.58.41 PMOur firm recently worked on a patent case between two Internet software companies that required illustration of the various inner workings of the Internet. While most people use the Internet on a regular (if not constant) basis, far fewer actually know what goes on “behind the scenes,” so to speak. What actually happens when you open your browser and type in a web address? These animations provided the attorneys with visual aids to explain the step-by-step process—an example of how to visually explain complex, technical ideas to jurors in a way they can comprehend.

Here are a few of the Flash animations we made for the trial. One reason I’m sharing them here is to show how we recommend breaking down a process into parts to explain to a jury.  This can involve static images or animations or a combination of both. The key is to take the complex and walk the viewer through the process.

This first animation illustrates how a web browser reads HTML code and translates that code into a webpage. HTML (HyperText Markup Language) is the language used to create most webpages. Keep in mind that when these animations are shown in court, the attorney will provide commentary; that is, they are meant to visually guide the attorney’s oral presentation on the topic, not to be viewed on their own (as you will see them below). Also, the low-res version embedded in the blog is not as sharp in quality as what the attorneys actually used. Nonetheless, I hope you get the idea and see how they can bolster case presentation.

The next animation illustrates the difference between two servers when you navigate to a webpage. The first server is responsible for displaying the website on your browser, and the second one sends back a local advertisement embedded in the webpage.

The next animation illustrates the idea of bandwidth data flow by comparing a server sending data to a home computer with a bathtub filling up with water—an example of how analogies can enhance understanding.

The graphics we created for this case were a great tool for the attorneys to use because they illustrated the technical back-end workings of the Internet in terms that anyone can understand.

If you are involved with business litigation and would like to discuss how animations or other types of graphics might help your case, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

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