It has been a case of ‘steady as she goes’ for BakerHostetler in the Pacific Northwest, with the Seattle contingent performing flawlessly on prosecution and transactions on behalf of long-term patrons. The lead representative for many clients is versatile professional Michael Swope
, whose incisive analytical skills serve him well whatever the brief. Diversity characterises his client catalogue, although he acts for a notable concentration of Chinese and Asian companies. Another touchpoint is local partner in charge Timothy Casey
, whose practice is even more interdisciplinary; his fluency in patent, trademark and copyright law was necessitated by the various in-house roles he occupied before entering private practice and is now capitalised on by companies such as security technology provider Avigilon and wireless performance enhancer Dockon. Having walked in his clients’ shoes, he knows how to make life easy for them. Michael Stein
is equally perceptive, but his particular talent lies in forming the best teams to ensure optimal efficiency and efficacy; as such, he performs his role as co-leader of the prosecution practice with aplomb.
Christensen O’Connor Johnson Kindness PLLC
COJK’s clients do not just want to provide brief references for the firm – they proactively brag about their relationship, such is the attentiveness of its service and its quality. According to one source: “Between its diligence and expertise, the team adds incredible value to our company and has accomplished great feats where others have failed. Do yourself a favour – pick COJK.” The side had a banner year in 2017 in terms of new instructions for the prosecution practice, thanks to a well-founded pitch highlighting the technical precision of attorneys with real-world engineering experience and the flexibility to adapt the service according to need. Delivering this message with crystal clarity as co-managing partner, litigation group head and executive committee member John Denkenberger
is a “spectacular lawyer” who comes in for a world of praise. “John understands that his clients’ needs are urgent and he never drops the ball. Totally transparent, straightforward and flexible, he is someone you can ask more of – and get it.” He is by no means the only individual who garners glowing feedback though: “Jerald Nagae
always deserves an A grade – you can rely on him and his team to produce consistently top-notch work. He is also extremely sensitive to budgetary concerns and has proven himself to be incredibly cost effective over the years.” The protection of patent rights is at the core of his broad counselling practice. “George Renzoni
shows exceptional IP knowledge and is someone who can refine your overall IP estate. He delivers clear, thoughtful advice and has a great track record successfully dealing with office actions.” “He develops creative approaches to patenting and always thinks through business implications.” “Rhys Lawson
has an extraordinary, almost unique ability to grasp the most intricate technical details. Moreover, he constructs claims that best align with his clients’ commercial goals while meeting the approval of US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) examiners. He never misses a deadline, is highly efficient and an engaging individual who is a true pleasure to partner with.” Not to be eclipsed, Melissa Nowak
and Brandon Stallman
are yet further stars in the COJK constellation and immunology is the wheelhouse of life sciences maven Nowak. Lately, she has brought comfort to a great many companies struggling to protect diagnostic methods in the face of subject-matter eligibility difficulties. Whether it is general advice or a specific deliverable like a patent, Stallman delivers exceptional quality. A perspicacious all-rounder with strong foundations in litigation and licensing, he is well placed to accurately analyse risk and is regularly sought out for freedom-to-operate opinions.
Cooley burns brightest in the life sciences space and Seattle’s Bill Christiansen
and Carol Laherty
do more than their bit to keep the firm at the cutting edge of developments in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology worlds. Christiansen maintains global portfolios in perfect order and has the magic touch when it comes to IP value creation and commercial exploitation. Laherty is similarly deft as a strategic counsellor and portfolio manager and developer, while he is also feted as an IP investment strategist and fount of lucid legal opinions.
Davis Wright Tremaine LLP
Davis Wright Tremaine has all the tools a technology company could ever need in the successful pursuit of its commercial goals. One of the firm’s sharpest assets is its IP litigation practice, which is captained by Warren Rheaume
and George Rondeau
. Both draw on decades of experience to provide perspicacious counsel and representation in complex battles over technology. Rheaume’s mediation expertise and Rondeau’s trademark nous are also worth noting.
Fenwick & West LLP
Silicon Valley whisperer Fenwick & West lives and breathes technology and has an army of experts who procure, protect, monetise and enforce patent rights. Flying the firm’s flag in Seattle is first-class trial lawyer David Tellekson
. Representing locally based supercomputing cynosure Cray, he has recently been in the national limelight in a dispute with Raytheon which has helped to shape forum shopping practices post TC Heartland v Kraft Foods
. Ruling that Cray maintained a regular and established place of business in the Eastern District of Texas on the basis that one of its remotely working employees had a private residence there, Judge Gilstrap developed a four-part test to be used in questions over venue; after Tellekson filed a petition for writ of mandamus
, this test was struck down by the Federal Circuit, which adopted Cray’s standard for determining place of business. Alongside Tellekson on this one was Melanie Mayer
who, cited by peers as a “wonderful lawyer”, makes her debut in the IAM Patent 1000
this year. She is one of the firm’s many PhDs – hers is in molecular biology and genetics – and while her metier lies in the biotechnology realm, her excellent trial record encompasses disputes over myriad other technologies.
Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP
Kilpatrick Townsend’s technical pedigree is a massive confidence booster for clients in the high-tech, medical device and life sciences industries – the firm is positively loaded with PhDs. Not only that, it also has a large contingent with industry experience, meaning it understands the business as well as the tech. A great piece of recent news coming out of the Emerald City is the well-deserved promotion of Jesse Bennett
to partner, who continues to garner loud applause from the market. The conscientious lawyer and brilliant writer and teacher is “strategic way beyond his years” and “provides an outstanding service”. This should come as no surprise given that he has learned his craft from local managing partner Roger Wylie
. “Gentle, unassuming, funny and incredibly intelligent, Roger is successful because he understands people and what motivates them. He can identify and execute creative solutions that others with less personality cannot.” Independently and as a team, Bennett and Wylie provide an attentive and tailored service to several marquee Pacific Northwest and Californian technology companies. As a globally connected lawyer, biotechnologist and immunology PhD Andrew Serafini
is a loyal ally to a number of brands. He is a partner to his clients whether he is working directly with inventors or with C-suite executives. While Kilpatrick Townsend is perhaps best known for its non-contentious skill set – it has one of the larger prosecution groups in the United States, after all – it also has a robust litigation practice that is worth more than a look.
Hailed as a “top-tier prosecution shop”, Knobbe Martens offers so much more; using its superlative technical credentials as a foundation, it supports the business development of clients in myriad ways. For those seeking authoritative non-infringement and invalidity opinions post Halo Electronics v Pulse Electronics
, calling Maria Anderson
in Seattle is a no-brainer for several reasons: she has a wealth of experience giving formal opinions; she knows her clients’ products and the relevant state of the art in their industries inside out, enabling her to act quickly and efficiently; she is a “brilliant counsellor and manager”; and she relishes the work on a personal level. She is also canny in her ability to harness the resources and experts around her; regular teamwork with individuals such as Mauricio Uribe
and Melanie Seelig
– standout practitioners in their own right – ensures that all angles are considered. A “tremendous strategic counsellor” who is “great at high-level portfolio building and strategising”, Uribe is a wellspring of insight and analysis in the electrical engineering and software fields. Affording customers a consistently outstanding service, Seelig exercises an eagle eye for detail in her patent landscape analyses and for quality in her international patent prosecution endeavours. Newly featured in the IAM Patent 1000
this year as an excellent advocate and a representative of the litigation practice, Carol Pitzel Cruz
brings the heat in Hatch-Waxman Act cases. Given how tight-knit the group in Seattle is, she also clearly does an excellent job as local managing partner.
Lane Powell PC
Combining the best of old and new approaches, Lane Powell has a rich history of almost 145 years, but practises dynamically and innovatively. Nowhere is this clearer than in its IP practice, within which Alan Minsk
and Brian Bodine
get to grips with cutting-edge technologies. Minsk has a broad variety of corporate experience and, most notably, served as vice president and patent counsel at Intellectual Ventures, whose patent portfolio evaluation, acquisition and monetisation processes he established. He is a patent strategist at heart, but can soothe any IP headache. Litigation is meat and drink to Bodine, who plays a thought-leadership role at the firm and in the wider legal community. He is always bang up to date on case law developments.
A sui generis
blend of business and technology consultancy and IP law firm, Lee & Hayes has been evangelising intellectual property as an asset class longer and more vocally than most, and its approach resonates with those interested in getting higher-quality patents. As the inspiration behind the set’s entrepreneurial spirit, founding partner Lewis Lee
“has built a forward-looking team that isn’t afraid to do things differently”. As a perfect example of the set’s fresh thinking, ‘601West’ is a bespoke data analytics platform – underpinned by highly innovative algorithms – for attorneys to leverage when drawing up business blueprints for clients. Among the roster’s top strategists are Daniel Crouse
, Rob Peck
and Brett Nelson
, all of whom have first-hand knowledge of the issues in-house counsel have to grapple with: Crouse spent a decade in a top legal role at Microsoft before private practice; Peck regularly serves as in-house seconded patent counsel to a major Seattle-based technology company; and life sciences group head Nelson worked for a large chemical company giving IP counsel and training to business and technology chiefs. Clever tactics are also deployed by many other members of the Lee & Hayes team; chemical and biopharmaceutical ace Rachal Winger
demonstrates a deft touch by injecting life into IP rights and then helping them flourish through astute commercialisation; high-technology maven Rob Hartman
links effectively with all levels of a company, from engineers all the way up to the C-suite; and David Divine
and Bea Koempel-Thomas
manage global portfolios with aplomb. Subtly suffusing enforcement wisdom throughout the firm, Bob Carlson
is the key litigator in the pack.
Perkins Coie LLP
Perkins Coie provides an ultra-sophisticated end-to-end patent service; the commercial law powerhouse has cultivated a symbiotic relationship between its non-contentious and contentious teams in a way that very few of its national competitors have been able to do. When it comes to prosecution and deals, the group has all the best tools in its kit; take a look, for example, at ‘P4’, a web-based workflow management instrument that puts prosecution and financial data at attorneys’ fingertips, allowing for streamlined and highly budget-conscious prosecution. Overseeing the effective implementation of such facilities gives leaders like Paul Parker
, Stephen Bishop
and Aaron Poledna
the headspace to do what they do best – giving strategic business advice to clients. Parker is a medical device guru, while Bishop has the sector knowledge to see the big picture in the mobile computing, internet and telecoms areas and Poledna motivates the troops as captain of the national prosecution group. Undoubtedly one of the jewels in the Perkins Coie crown is the software practice maintained by Maurice Pirio
and Steve Lawrenz
. Pirio is “one of the most experienced prosecutors in software, probably in the entire country”; put it this way, companies like Amazon would not be where they are today without him. Lawrenz is “a perfect fit for those who care about high-quality patent protection”. One technology area in which the firm has lately gained a great deal of traction is autonomous vehicle systems; John Wechkin
has his foot on the accelerator in this rapidly advancing field. Working across all the technical areas mentioned above, Christopher Daley-Watson
is the go-to for transactional briefs. The sole occupant of the Washington litigation gold tier, Perkins Coie is deadly in the courtroom and propitiative around the negotiation table, as each case demands. Celebrity lawyers Ramsey Al-Salam
and Jerry Riedinger
command national respect as advocates. Al-Salam is known for his “encyclopaedic legal knowledge” and “friendly, down-to-earth personality”, while Riedinger is “so skilled and artful that he never fails to get the job done”. Another seasoned lead counsel for blue-chip companies, particularly in the telecoms sector, is Ryan McBrayer
. Acting as an interface between the litigation and prosecution wings is post-grant sharpshooter and patent all-rounder Chun Ng
. When companies sense a threat, they chart a course to Ng, who has unique defensive claim charting expertise.
Seed Intellectual Property Law Group LLP
Weaving compelling stories around complex technical subject matter is the inimitable skill set of “top boutique” Seed Intellectual Property Law Group; whatever the audience – investor, patent office examiner, judge – the outcome of successful persuasion is the same. Jim White
’s deft navigation around patent eligibility issues in the tumultuous software space affords an excellent example of this. A “software guru” with “deep technical expertise”, White enters into discussions with coding boffins on a peer-to-peer level to capture inventions and then “does a phenomenal job responding to office actions and getting patent applications to grant”. In any technical field, the team has what it takes to convey industry-leading and emerging tech companies comfortably to their desired destination. Companies in need of premium quality (though not premium cost) software and high-tech advice can take their pick of Kevan Morgan
, Shoko Leek
, Brooke Quist
and Frank Abramonte
. Morgan has been applying his electrical engineering knowledge in the medical instrumentation field and, as testament to the quality of the patents he obtains, has recently helped clients attract significant investment. Leek is a proficient all-round IP counsellor who stands out as an international patent strategist and portfolio architect. A former research and design engineer with big law experience on his résumé, Quist matches his technical fluency with a native understanding of commercial language. Abramonte’s panoramic perspective on the business of intellectual property is something clients are champing at the bit to exploit. The life sciences practice has an equally impressive bench, key members of which are Jeffrey Pepe
, Samuel Webb
, Karl Hermanns
and Stephen Rosenman
. Pepe comes equipped with a microbiology and molecular genetics PhD as well as extensive industry experience – he has served as chief IP counsel for two pharmaceutical companies. Webb also has senior-level in-house experience in the drug industry. A popular figure in academic circles and the Washington State Bar Association, chemist Hermanns manages portfolios with a commercial touch cultivated through a vibrant landscape analysis and transactional practice. Yale biology PhD Rosenmann has a rich research background and knows all there is to know about the biotechnology sector. The firm also has other individuals who transcend technical boundaries, such as Jeffrey Sakoi
, who boasts a fine-milled understanding of chemical, mechanical and electro-mechanical technologies. “Jeff is highly experienced and sophisticated, but able to relate to anyone. He is so cooperative and goes above and beyond to make sure matters proceed smoothly. He’s a classy guy with his clients’ best interests at heart.” When matters get spicy, David Carlson
steps in to cool things down; he is a litigator, but with his prosecution and licensing background, he is not one to fan the flames. According to those who know him best, “Dave is extremely reliable and has an excellent understanding of and appreciation for the nuanced needs of different clients. He offers outstanding advice – and it comes with a reasonable price tag”. Robert Kovelman
also knows how to put disputes to bed with the minimum of fuss and, like Carlson, is celebrated for the value he delivers. As a negotiator, he has an instinctual feel for the optimal use of all available resources and for the inflexion points of his counterparts.
Efficiency, pragmatism and commerciality are the hallmarks of the Shook Hardy IP group. It offers a sweeping suite of services, but is best known in the Seattle market for its prosecution and licensing proficiency. This has everything to do with the leadership of former Microsoft chief patent counsel Bart Eppenauer
. Peers acknowledge that, “when it comes to high-level management, there’s nobody better”, but he always fights on the frontline in the trenches with his clients, particularly as they seek solutions to the conundrums posed by uncertainty over subject-matter eligibility. He has published extensively in the IP press on Section 101 and numerous other hot-button topics. He surfs the crest of the biggest waves breaking over the technology world.
Susman Godfrey LLP
Susman Godfrey is widely considered as being among the country’s top litigation firms for plaintiffs. Contributing significantly to this reputation, the pros in Seattle also take on a lot of high-profile defence instructions. On either side of the ‘v’, the team works nimbly and, while it develops strong trial themes early doors, it has no problem reacting quickly and smartly to the twists and turns that complex, commercially vital cases inevitably take. Nothing throws Genevieve Wallace
off her game – she has dealt with just about anything that can happen in court thanks to her well-rounded commercial disputes practice. Patent litigation sees this committed, intellectually gifted problem solver at her very best though. Luminary trial lawyer Parker Folse
always keeps his cool, earning the respect of clients, opposing counsel, judges and juries. The American College of Trial Lawyers fellow knows what it takes to emerge victorious in any commercial setting and is the advocate of choice for patent cases that intersect with other areas of law, such as antitrust.