Stout Managing Director Michele Riley talks about her experience in intellectual property disputes and potential changes to the field in the next decade.

March 04, 2019

Michele Riley is one of the most prominent intellectual property damages experts in the U.S. With more than two decades of experience, she has testified in both federal and international settings, on matters involving patent, trademark, and copyright infringement and trade secret misappropriation. She also regularly serves as a guest lecturer on the financial aspects of intellectual property to professional groups, governmental entities, and universities. We caught up with Michele to talk about her intellectual property expertise, the rewarding aspects of her career, and her guidance for young professionals.

Michele Riley Quick Facts

Role at Stout

Intellectual Property Damages and Valuation Expert
Head of the Washington, DC, Office

Education

 

M.B.A., Finance, University of Maryland
B.A., Physics, Emory University

Focus Industries

 

Consumer, Retail, Food, and Beverage
Healthcare and Life Sciences
Technology, Media, and Telecommunications

Venues Testified In

 

United States Bankruptcy Court, United States International Trade Commission, United States Court of Federal Claims, International Chamber of Commerce, American Arbitration Association International Centre for Dispute Resolution, Numerous federal and state courts, Other private arbitration

Trial Highlight 

 

Certain UV Curable Coatings for Optical Fibers, Coated Optical Fibers, and Products Containing Same, Investigation No. 337-TA-1031, United States International Trade Commission, Washington, DC

What types of clients do you work with?

I work with different types of clients who need help with any issue that resides at the intersection of finance and intellectual property, including individual inventors, middle market companies, large corporations, and entities that invest in the commercialization of intellectual property.

What types of litigation matters do you spend most of your time with?

The majority of my litigation work is in patent infringement litigation, as this tends to be where damages issues are the most prevalent. A close second, particularly in recent years, has been trade secret misappropriation/breach of employee confidentiality agreement matters.

What makes you particularly qualified as an expert in intellectual property dispute cases?

My deep experience in litigation matters makes me an invaluable member of any trial team at each stage of the litigation, but particularly in terms of trial strategy and case presentation. I also feel strongly that the skillsets and experience of the staff who support me and our other testifying experts at Stout are tremendous, which serves to greatly enhance our contributions to each engagement.

What led you to focus your career in intellectual property?

I majored in physics at the undergraduate level and worked in the sciences for a number of years. Then, during my M.B.A. program at the University of Maryland, I took a class on technology transfer and found the subject matter compelling. The rest is history.

How do you envision intellectual property and/or more specifically intellectual property litigation changing in the next five to 10 years?

Changes in the legislative and administrative landscape during the last five to seven years have weakened patents and strengthened the positions of accused infringers. I expect the pendulum to swing back the other way over the next five to 10 years, strengthening patents and the position of patent owners in litigation matters. In the interim, we are seeing trade secret litigation increase as companies look for competitive advantages in other forms of intellectual property.

As head of the firm’s Washington, DC, office, what are your responsibilities?

My role as office leader is to create a working environment that is growth-oriented in terms of staff development as well as in terms of office expansion. Washington is a key market for Stout’s Dispute Consulting practice due to the large number of investigations and litigation matters that originate here.

What advice do you have for people looking to follow a similar career path?

Becoming a subject matter expert requires that you be exceptionally interested in your chosen subject matter. Make sure you choose an area that you like to read about, think about, and talk about. Developing your skills as an expert in that area (as well as your professional network) will follow right along very naturally behind that interest.

What are the biggest lessons you have learned in your career?

You learn a lot more by listening than you do by talking. Also, it is an overused cliché, but there really and truly is no “I” in team.

What has been the most rewarding part of your career?

The most rewarding part of my career is helping the next generation of consultants, not just in my field, but in any other field, to obtain opportunities to grow their careers. As a working mother who also took time off from my career to raise children, I have a particular interest in making the workplace more welcoming to working mothers, in terms of developing alternative work schedules or career tracks. The ranks of senior women in professional services are sorely depleted due to the completely understandable decision many mothers make to stay home with our children. I feel very strongly that it is incumbent on us as employers to focus intently on creating these pathways that help keep women in the workforce because we need a diversity of viewpoints on all issues.

What interests do you have outside of work?

I am very involved in my community in many ways, through my neighborhood association, my church, and my children’s schools, as well as my work with other nonprofit entities. I recently took a leave of absence from Stout to run for public office in Montgomery County, MD, and I very much enjoyed getting to know even more about our local government and the issues facing our communities here in the DC/Maryland/Virginia area.