Does your attorney suddenly start acting like a gorilla before, or even during, an oral hearing before the European patent office? Don’t worry, it’s (probably) part of a very deliberate plan to let you walk away as the winner. But let me get back to that in a while. First, I want to tell you a little bit about the mock-trial I just attended in Strasbourg, as preparation to become a European patent litigator before the new Unitary Patent Court (UPC). This mock-trial had been prepared by a written procedure of several submissions from the Claimant and the Defendants over a period of a few months, and was therefore very realistically played-out. There was a panel of judges and the parties had to make their submissions standing at a lectern before the panel.
On the day before we had a lecture on the topic of the “hard impact of soft skills”, which was based to a large extent on the teachings of Amy Cuddy, who has studied the impact of so called “power poses”. Studies have shown that only 2 minutes of power posing can alter the testosterone and cortisol levels in the brain, and make us more self-confident. The day after the mock-trial, we had a feed-back session, on the mock-trial, and on the things that were expressed, consciously or unconsciously, with body language during this oral hearing.
So what is a power pose? Well, basically it is a pose intended to make you look bigger, for instance putting your hands behind your head, or leaning forward over a table with your hands far apart, and as the title of this blog post might tell you, it is much like common moves and poses that a gorilla makes. Also the very common “winning pose”, i.e. putting both your hands into the sky, is a so called power pose.
Therefore, if you find your patent attorney performing power posing for a couple of minutes before the oral hearing, or perhaps seeming a bit too relaxed with his or her hands behind the head during the oral proceeding, don’t worry, your attorney is just showing that he or she is very confident. Or at least he or she is trying to make himself or herself feel that way, which is another positive effect of power posing!
Sofia Willquist, European Patent Attorney