BITLINES: New spin for stock options prying, “Meeting Quota”; Honoring MBE MVPs


For some fresh perspective on just how competitive the tech world is, we point to a recent survey from law firm Fulbright & Jaworski, which claims that the average technology company faces no less than 79 separate lawsuits in US courts at a given time, spending on average $11.8 million annually on litigation. Not surprisingly, patent and other IP disputes topped the list, ahead of areas including contracts, class actions, labor/employment, and regulatory matters. And illustrating the globalization of the tech industry, more than a third of total US respondents said that up to 20% of their current litigation originates in foreign venues.

One disturbing data point — 43% percent of technology/telecom companies reported litigating e-discovery disputes with a high degree of frequency in the past year, but overall, only 15% of US counsel surveyed by Fulbright said their companies were well prepared to handle a difficult e-discovery challenge as part of a contested civil matter or regulatory investigation.

Nearly two-thirds of respondents (62%) have undertaken internal investigations requiring outside council in the past year. That’s clearly going to go up, given the stock options ballyhoo galloping across the tech industry landscape.

Perhaps the most important takeaway for tech firms from this survey is this — be thankful. Companies in the insurance business face a crushing 1700 cases/year, and even energy and manufacturing companies have it much worse, with more than 300 average cases annually reported.

The annual Fulbright & Jaworski survey pulls from 422 in-house law departments worldwide. Full results are available for download here.


Two individuals from the US and Japan are the latest recipients for their contributions to advancing the field of molecular beam epitaxy (MBE). The 2006 Al Cho Award, handed out at this year?s International MBE Conference n Tokyo, Japan on Sept. 7, went to Prof. Yoshiji Horikoshi of Tokyo’s Waseda U., for his pioneering work with migration-enhanced epitaxy (MEE), which produces a near-perfect atomic surface arrangement. The Al Cho award, named for the “Father of MBE,” recognizes individuals who have made fundamental contributions to the science and technology of MBE or enabled by MBE, with a $5000 cash prize and engraved plaque. The first award in 2004 went to Prof. Tom Foxon of Nottingham U. (UK)

Meanwhile, earlier this month at the NAMBE Conference at Duke U., Dr. William E. Hoke of Raytheon took home the 2006 MBE Innovator Award for his contributions in metamorphic growth of HEMTs, HBTs, and PIN photodetectors. His work at Raytheon has spanned pseudomorphic HEMTs for microwave applications (1981), metamorphic structures (1996), and most recently GaN materials for high-power devices (2000). Recipients of the MBE Innovator Award (first presented in 2003 are chosen for contributions to advancing MBE technology in several areas: Materials research, device development, device commercialization, and equipment development.


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