NEW YORK, Oct. 29 /PRNewswire/ -- Article One Partners, the world's largest patent research community, recently hosted its first annual conference. The 2010 Napa Valley Summiton Collaborative Litigation Defense was held October 18-20 in Napa, California. Senior Counsels and Intellectual Property (IP) Executives from more than thirty companies participated, including over a dozen Fortune 500 enterprises. Attendees from leading enterprises across industries described the event as a unique opportunity to interact with their peers and to share critical insights. Article One Partners' objective was to drive proactive strategies for collaborative litigation defense and deterrence. Article One Partners also announced the launch of its Litigation Avoidance Offering. The new service leverages Article One Partners' global patent research community to identify, analyze and act on patents to avoid patent litigation. The event included as keynote speaker Marshall Phelps, who was the Corporate Vice President for IP Policy and Strategy at IBM for 28 years before Bill Gates recruited him to mange Microsoft's IP strategy. Phelps is now an Executive Advisor and Board Member at Article One Partners. "By nearly all measures, companies are facing an increasing onslaught of patent infringement litigation. Some of the challenging patent issues facing all of us here at the Article One Partners Summit are akin to asymmetric warfare," said Phelps. "In such a conflict, traditional companies need to always be vigilant and consistently win each patent battle... while patent-centric companies only need to assert a patent and win occasionally." Mr. Phelps went on to say that the companies in attendance are simultaneously customers, suppliers, partners, and competitors of each other. "The business and legal environment has changed significantly," Phelps continued. "We have larger interests that demand a degree of information and resource sharing—even a measure of collaborative defense—that might have been unthinkable 5 years ago. Today's evolving conditions require a changed response."