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Britannica Sues Dickstein Shapiro

WASHINGTON (CN) - Encyclopaedia Britannica says its attorneys at Dickstein Shapiro botched two patent applications for groundbreaking multi-media search systems - costing the company more than $250 million. It's suing the law firm, which has filed numerous patent applications for it since the late 1980s, for breach of fiduciary duty and professional negligence in Federal Court.

Britannica says the two patents it lost would have given it rights to "groundbreaking inventions in the field of multi-media search systems."

Britannica says that Dickstein Shapiro attorneys filed numerous patent infringement claims against major international and national companies, but a judge in Texas ruled against one claim based on "Dickstein's incompetent prosecution efforts." Britannica says its patents were thus rendered invalid, along with its infringement claims.

Britannica claims Dickstein Shapiro tried to cover its tracks by pursuing a self-serving course of action with the U.S. Patent Office, and alerting its insurance company that Britannica would probably sue it for malpractice.

"The errors and omissions that led to this valuable property loss and Dickstein's response to the admittedly negligent performance at issue are quintessential examples of hornbook malpractice," Britannica says in its complaint.

It claims it lost more than $250 million in infringement claims against companies that use its technology, and wants Dickstein to pay that amount in damages.

Encyclopaedia Britannica is represented by Joseph diGenova with diGenova Toensing.


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