Ahmad Zavitsanos Anaipakos Alavi & Mensing PC
This Houston trial boutique dazzles in patent infringement cases across the United States and beyond; it shines brightest fighting tenaciously for plaintiffs against global corporations. Its professionals have “superb case-handling skills: they do a great job introducing relevant evidence and making clever arguments; their use of expert testimony to illustrate crucial points is very impressive; research is done well and nothing is left to chance; they keep the whole case in view and get great results. Its lawyers work with complete integrity and really make you feel like part of the same team”. Amir Alavi
and the newly featured Demetrios Anaipakos
are the driving forces behind the practice. “They know how to run and staff a case and they discern the most important issues very quickly.” Alavi is a “judicious strategist who digs in and pulls arguments together well. He has an acute sense of how to present a damages case”. As one patron avers, Anaipakos is “one of the best trial lawyers I have ever seen and has a compelling courtroom personality; he is a master of cross-examination, goes right to the heart of the matter and gets the jury on side”. The ensemble has prevailed in a number of David-versus-Goliath disputes of late: it won a $16 million jury verdict for Rembrandt Wireless Technologies against Samsung; it prevented Ford from staying a billion-dollar trade secrets and patent infringement case brought by Versata; and it also prevailed for Saint Lawrence Communications in a crucial German patent dispute against Deutsche Telekom, Vodafone and LG.
Andrews Kurth Kenyon LLP
Synthesising the talent and resources of its forerunners – IP specialist Kenyon & Kenyon and full-service powerhouse Andrews Kurth – Andrews Kurth Kenyon routinely delivers on both sides of the contentious/non-contentious divide. Intellectual property is a core focus for the practice, which regards patents as a vital component of commercial enterprise; it is lauded for its “balanced sense of business priorities and pragmatism in securing amicable settlements in heated disputes”. The firm’s network of offices throughout the country operates seamlessly to ensure that each case is staffed by the right team; its practitioners are “proactive, responsive and always available. They give clear, thorough and helpful advice”. Embodying all these qualities is the “top-class” Jeff Dodd
, co-chair of the IP and technology practice group; he is much respected when it comes to obtaining and exploiting intellectual assets.
Baker Botts LLP
Baker Botts' unparalleled combination of strength, breadth and quality makes it an obvious leader in patent law. With 160 attorneys holding more than 200 science and engineering degrees between them, the set makes light work of the most challenging instructions in all technological fields. “All of its lawyers are trained across prosecution, licensing and litigation, and therefore see the whole picture at all times”; its “top-notch veterans are increasingly complemented by great up-and-comers”. One client enthuses: “Baker Botts is the model, the standard bearer, for all other law firms. We trust it with our most critical patent transactions and disputes. Its team leaves no stone unturned and no lead unearthed; in trial, it makes targeted and clear arguments for the jury. I never lose sleep when its lawyers are on the case; they are proactive and do not raise a problem without suggesting a solution". This Texan IP colossus continues to grow in stature: it recently recruited a number of leading practitioners from Vinson & Elkins and last year extended its reach by opening a second branch in California. The multi-skilled Barton Showalter
helms the illustrious team, providing “wise strategic counsel and outstanding litigation management” for some of the world’s most renowned brands. The contentious side of the practice – which is currently involved in more than 130 district court suits nationwide – boasts “superb trial lawyers”, including electrical and mechanical engineering sage Scott Partridge
, who performs with assurance before judges and thrives in International Trade Commission (ITC) hearings. Recent addition David Weaver
is a nationally recognised first-chair litigator who lately won a favourable settlement for iFLY following proceedings against Indoor Skydiving Germany. Houston-based Roger Fulghum
“makes sure a case is developed properly for trial. He is a good team leader and effective oral advocate who gives clean and crisp presentations. Fulghum simplifies technologies so that everyone can understand them”. Having acted in more than 200 inter partes
reviews, the firm is also at the cutting edge of post-grant proceedings. After recently joining Baker Botts from Cooley, rising star Wayne Stacy
operates with equal finesse before the courts and the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB). The “smart guy" is “well prepared, thoughtful, articulate and brings great insight to the table”. He is currently representing Twilio in a multifaceted US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and district court dispute with Telesign. Another dab hand in post-grant proceedings is deputy team leader Paul Morico
, a steadfast ally of companies in the energy sector. The team is also adroit at closing down litigation through astute licensing arrangements. Especially distinguished in this regard are Douglas Kubehl
, who has managed disputes in Europe and Japan; and “consummate professional” Kurt Pankratz
, whose counsel is both commercially and legally informed. Adding further versatility, Kevin Meek
effortlessly covers the patent lifecycle; alongside Fulghum, he provides a comprehensive service to Dell, including worldwide portfolio management and advocacy before the USPTO, district courts and the ITC.
Blank Rome LLP
Having absorbed leading Houston IP shop Wong Cabello in 2015, “superb general practice firm” Blank Rome cuts an impressive dash in Texas. The team has all bases on lock: with a squad of former patent examiners and in-house counsel to call on, it obtains cast-iron intellectual assets and brings clear direction to portfolio strategy. The firm adeptly maximises revenue for clients in IP-rich transactions and fights tooth and nail on their behalf in heated competitor-on-competitor disputes. Louis Brucculeri
and Russell Wong
provide the full range of services, to superb effect; whereas hard-IP specialist Keith Rutherford
is esteemed for his contentious prowess, before both the courts and the PTAB. Wong recently went out to bat for Daktronics in a number of crucial patent suits; while Rutherford has repeatedly defended Corel against infringement allegations and is currently representing the Canadian software company in a suit against Microsoft.
Proficient across the patent lifecycle, native Texas firm Bracewell matches broad industry knowledge with a granular understanding of clients’ businesses to devise reliably effective IP strategies. The oil and gas sector is a happy hunting ground for the firm, which handles prosecution, transactions and litigation for Baker Hughes, among others. Directing the team is the commercially attuned Constance Rhebergen, a percipient patent attorney who manages the portfolio of another global energy company, for which Bracewell has prosecuted over 2,000 patents internationally and brokered a number of technology-rich deals. On the contentious side is is assiduous enforcer Alan Albright, who is silver-tongued before a jury and swift to exploit licensing opportunities. Albright is regularly instructed by household names and recently invalidated a patent in the Western District of Texas on behalf of Facebook.
Caldwell Cassady & Curry
One of the state’s first-rate litigation shops, Caldwell Cassady & Curry debuts in the Texas listings this year following a number of spectacular verdicts in its favour: it lately won nine-figure patent infringement damages against Apple and Microsoft. Youthful and determined, founding partners Bradley Caldwell
, Austin Curry
and Jason Cassady
have accumulated jury trial experience well beyond their years; they are “skilled IP and business lawyers who are very effective in the courtroom”. The close-knit team adopts a tailor-made approach to every case and pursues it doggedly and confidently. Caldwell is “right up there as a litigator – ambitious and aggressive”; while “very smart professionals” Cassady and Curry also garner plaudits from peers.
Conley Rose, PC
Flexible and streamlined boutique Conley Rose is warmly commended by clients for its sterling USPTO practice. As one patron affirms: “Its day-to-day work is excellent and cannot be improved. Conley Rose played a vital role in the development of our portfolio. It has well-honed legal and technical expertise, but also the resources to handle a significant workload. The firm is cost effective, flexible, easy to deal with and adds value to every project.” The lynchpin is Michael Piper
: “A knowledgeable adviser who stands out from the crowd, he combines a wealth of experience with an intricate grasp of US patent prosecution. Piper has unrivalled expertise on software patenting – he knows the case law and technology inside out. He is also very practical and a great problem solver who helps clients to avoid disputes.” Another dynamic professional, Rodney Carroll
, makes his first appearance in the IAM Patent 1000
this year; his “thoughtful, well-reasoned and brilliantly researched legal advice” has been attracting recognition. Trusted by innovators across a number of technology sectors, he “has forged strong relationships with patent examiners, which makes him even more effective in obtaining IP rights”. He is also applauded for “collaborating well to align European and US prosecution efforts”. The firm has also used its USPTO know-how to establish an impressive post-grant offering. Its lawyers are “unflappable in front of the PTAB; they have complete control over a case, from understanding the patent and the prior art to anticipating the opposing side’s arguments. Their calmness and attention to detail are impressive”.
International business law giant Dentons is a dependably safe pair of hands for rights holders; with the ability to call upon thousands of colleagues across the world, its Texan professionals can dispatch the heftiest and farthest-reaching IP mandates. The firm has a holistic understanding of technology rights and excels where these intersect with other commercial or legal issues. A pillar of Dentons’ precision prosecution practice is biotechnology PhD Rob Hanson
, who intelligently administers substantial portfolios and has a sharp eye for detail when overseeing patent acquisition projects. His main client is agricultural powerhouse Monsanto; he has been developing its intellectual assets for more than a decade. He also counsels a number of prestigious universities on how to protect and extract value from their innovations. The firm’s IP litigation team is also popular with rights holders; its most senior lawyer in Texas is Mark Nelson
, a formidable combatant in the Eastern District of Texas and the District of Delaware courts, as well as at the USPTO. He recently prevailed in litigation for the University of Florida against a former licensee. Nelson was also involved in a noteworthy action for Jiawei Technology, in which cases involving 10 disputed patents were stayed on the basis of his filing an inter partes
review against four of the rights in question – one of the very few occasions in which a subset of IP rights has been used to stay lawsuits involving other unchallenged patents. The firm’s impressive Chinese practice – which has over 3,500 lawyers in 40 bureaux – is a major boon for Dentons in Texas: the Dallas office is home to the bilingual Digger (Zunxuan) Chen
, “an all-round IP lawyer and expert in cross-border Sino-American prosecution, transaction and enforcement matters”. The academically gifted professional has a medical degree and a PhD in microbiology.
DLA Piper LLP
DLA Piper executes flawlessly on patent briefs with national and international scope. Though catering for a diverse range of needs, the Texas IP contingent performs best in big-ticket disputes. The local team has boots on the ground in the state’s major commercial centres – Austin, Houston and Dallas – but also appears before federal courts around the country. Star quarterback John Guaragna
has dazzled in over 150 patent infringement cases in the Eastern District of Texas and other major forums; he is also a go-to for matters at the intersection of patent and antitrust law and for fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory licensing conflicts. He recently showcased his dexterity through his representation of Itron in a district court case: he overcame the opposition to have proceedings transferred to the Northern District of Georgia, thus laying the foundations for a favourable settlement.
Fish & Richardson PC
Fish & Richardson is a titanic force in US patent law – clients consider it a “top-quality practice and a first choice for matters of the utmost significance”. While working harmoniously as part of a national team some 400 strong, its Texan litigators maintain a focus on the state’s crucial eastern district; the local group has an exceptional reputation for representing defendants against NPEs. Dallas sharpshooter Thomas Reger has been last man standing in infringement duels in jurisdictions nationwide, while over in Houston, John Lane is another master of contentious matters; he has tried cases in myriad technology sectors, including dozens of pharmaceuticals cases, and also has a spotless reputation in inter partes reviews. Colleague DJ Healey is an “outstanding professional and great litigator” with three decades at the coalface under her belt; she is favoured for multi-jurisdictional patent and antitrust briefs across the United States and Europe. Texas-based professionals are also a vital cog in Fish & Richardson’s prosecution practice, which has 90 PhDs across the country and files 5,000 patents annually. Innovators “never cease to be impressed” by Austin-based James Babineau, who “utilises his deep understanding of clients’ businesses when forming a prosecution strategy. He works well with inventors, is always there when they need him and understands their ideas quickly. James is also excellent at weighing up the costs and benefits of a certain course of action”. According to one client, his “patents are honestly the very best of the hundreds, perhaps even thousands, that I have read in my career”. With a well-rounded view of intellectual property, Babineau is equally esteemed for his perspicacious advice on infringement avoidance, European oppositions and freedom-to-operate matters. “Consummate professional” Wes Musselman is another non-contentious anchor; the former patent examiner gets watertight patents granted efficiently. One patron extols his “highly skilled and cost-effective services across a number of technologies, which have been vital in the development of our IP portfolio”. Helping to secure tangible benefits from intangible assets, Kevin Gray and Terry Stalford exhibit piercing business acuity when masterminding patent-heavy transactions and prosecution management. Gray heads the firm’s flourishing IP-centric licensing group.
Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP
In Texas as elsewhere, Gibson Dunn & Crutcher never shies away from a fight and ardently defends its clients’ interests in court, the ITC and the PTAB. “One of the best litigation boutiques, it knows how to try a case and has exceptional professionals.” Co-chair of the IP group Mark Reiter
is a skilled trial lawyer who adeptly handles multi-forum disputes for the most discerning innovators. He lately scored a significant victory for Fitbit in a case against Jawbone; accused of six counts of infringement and the misappropriation of 150 trade secrets, his client prevailed on every single count. Reiter has also helped T-Mobile to come out on top in a number of conflicts in its ongoing battle with one of the world’s largest NPEs. Another crack litigator, Tracey Davies
has profound knowledge of life sciences patents; she is also a sure-footed adviser on technology-rich deals.
Haynes and Boone LLP
The Dallas headquarters of Haynes and Boone is the nerve centre of the firm’s potent multinational network. With “excellent technological training and a deep bench in financial technology and telecommunications”, it is outstanding in prosecution; it dispenses “consistently great counsel, using intimate knowledge of prior art, the client’s business and competitors to build and manage portfolios with aplomb. Its attentive professionals also handle foreign patent acquisition, interfacing seamlessly with foreign agents”. Scientifically minded Mark Tidwell
has obtained IP rights across the technological spectrum; while Randall Brown
– a chemical arts whizz with 30 years’ experience – is “superb in cross-border work with Chinese counterparts”. Together, they advise Halliburton on a slew of patent acquisition matters. Haynes and Boone also has a noteworthy transactional practice in Texas, helmed by Randall Colson
; his clients “trust him completely in high-stakes deals. He has an incredible breadth of patent expertise, but what really sets him apart is his ability to understand commercial priorities and give practical, straightforward advice”. “Excellent all-rounder” David McCombs
is another essential contact; accomplished in IP management and technology transfers, he is best known for his on-point post-grant work. McCombs recently used inter partes
review proceedings to superb effect for the world’s largest networking company, Cisco Systems, for which he has also overseen a number of patent transactions. The firm is also home to spirited litigators such as Phillip Philbin
, who recently recorded victories for TransData in an infringement spat with a number of adversaries and guided Ericsson to a favourable settlement with Sycamore IP Holdings following litigation in the Eastern District of Texas.
Heim, Payne & Chorush LLP
The “superb patent litigators” at Heim, Payne & Chorush know what it takes to prevail in court for small rights holders against global industry behemoths. IP trial work is the exclusive focus of this “top-quality” outlet, whose high ratio of partners to associates enables it to field a lean but effective team for high-stakes disputes. Its well-rounded professionals combine courtroom mastery, analytical rigour and technical acuity to secure the best results. “They have extremely detailed knowledge of patent law and inventions; they explain difficult concepts in simple terms and are an ideal choice for cases involving complex technology issues.” Founding partner Michael Heim
is a hardened litigator and former patent examiner brimming with strategic insight accumulated over decades in the field. He has enjoyed multiple successes asserting MicroUnity’s patents against several computing giants, including Intel, Dell and Apple. Fellow electrical engineering maven Eric Enger
is redoubtable in multi-patent suits and trade secret disputes; he has made an indelible mark enforcing intellectual assets against an array of household names, such as Samsung, IBM and Apple.
Jones Day’s international presence matches that of its major corporate clients; drawing on its abundant global resources, the firm’s patent practitioners in the Lone Star State are sought out for their prowess in bet-the-farm litigation. Widely applauded, Hilda Galvan
is “formidable in electrical engineering matters; she is aggressive, manages a case well and knows how to communicate with a jury”. IAM Patent 1000
debutant Joseph Beauchamp
is also an elite IP trial lawyer. The former president of the Houston Intellectual Property Law Association is the counsel of choice for energy and software companies, and uses post-grant proceedings to gain the advantage in multi-faceted patent disputes.
McDermott Will & Emery
Intellectual property is a cornerstone of McDermott Will & Emery’s practice; 150 specialists countrywide make it a compelling option for patent instructions on both sides of the contentious/non-contentious divide. The Houston bureau is a major hub for the firm’s prosecution group; the team manages weighty multinational portfolios with poise and has more than 7,000 patent files open. Carey Jordan
has a distinctive mix of chemistry, energy and materials science expertise; she provides clear-sighted counsel on IP acquisition and commercialisation, and recently shepherded a multibillion-dollar patent transaction to close for Evonik. The Space City office is also home to stellar litigator Steven Spears
, a “smart, practical all-round lawyer” and a deft operator before district and appellate courts and the PTAB; he lately prevailed in two inter partes
reviews for Ericsson.
Native outfit and hawkish enforcer McKool Smith is at the top of the patent litigation game. According to one competitor, the firm is “the best I have ever been against. It has quality from the top to the bottom – even its most junior professionals are great – but its A team is simply excellent in court, has outstanding technical know-how and a well-deserved reputation as one of the best practices in the country, not just in Texas. The firm adopts a practical approach; it doesn’t drag out silly procedural fights, but makes persuasive arguments which get to the nub of the issue”. Mike McKool
is credited with “leading by example and shaping a fantastic culture throughout the firm”; the veteran trial lawyer gives bravura performances in a range of commercial law hearings. Among the “extremely smart lawyers” working alongside him are “top-tier litigator” Samuel Baxter
, who “has been around the block and tried many jury cases in the Eastern District of Texas”; and seasoned advocate Theodore Stevenson
, who of late has impressed in an assortment of patent licensing disputes. Also in the gold category, Douglas Cawley
“has a smooth delivery in court and is liked by juries – he weaves a compelling narrative and is extremely credible. Doug has beaten some of the best trial lawyers in California”. Adding further firepower is Scott Cole
, who has taken a plethora of contests through to verdict.
Meyertons, Hood, Kivlin, Kowert & Goetzel, PC
Highly esteemed for its cutting-edge scientific know-how and collaborative ethos, Meyertons makes its debut in the IAM Patent 1000
for its polished prosecution offering, especially in the IT domain. A crucial cog in this well-oiled machine, Robert Kowert
is a “great professional whose counselling is short, sweet and to the point”. A former design engineer and in-house attorney, as well as a patented inventor in his own right, he has a panoramic perspective on IP acquisition and management.
Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP
Morgan Lewis & Bockius’s Houston IP squad offers an all-encompassing dispute avoidance and resolution service: it foresees potential sources of conflict, offers perceptive advice on the risks and rewards of legal action, litigates forcefully when appropriate and opens up routes to settlement by negotiating profitable licensing agreements. David Levy
is a powerful weapon in the firm’s arsenal; he is flawless in international litigation – a subject on which he is a published thought leader – and has represented a number of prominent East Asian clients. Another essential partner for the most hotly contested cases, courtroom virtuoso Winstol Carter
has taken over 100 cases to jury; he keeps his cool in do-or-die circumstances, securing the best possible outcomes for clients. He showcased his killer courtroom instincts recently when called into action at short notice to defend TCL Communication Technology Holdings in a pivotal infringement suit; he managed to get the case stayed subject to post-grant proceedings against the patents in question.
A resolute champion of patent owners large and small, Nelson Bumgardner has inflicted heavy defeats on numerous household telecommunications and computing names. Master tacticians, its professionals use a variety of techniques to uphold IP rights, excelling at the PTAB – where they have never lost a trial – as well as in federal courts. Few firms are better in multifaceted campaigns to enforce large and diverse portfolios. Hotshot Ed Nelson
recently led Cellular Communications Equipment to victory against Apple in an infringement suit and has acted for the same client against Samsung, LG, T-Mobile and others. He has also sued many premier online brands on behalf of Unified Messaging Solutions, resulting in more than 40 patent licence agreements. Another “outstanding IP trial lawyer”, Barry Bumgardner
“has honed strategic instincts and the ability to shape compelling arguments which win the respect of adversaries. No legal issue is too difficult for him to solve and he works closely with patrons to achieve their end goals”. Brent Bumgardner
and Donald Puckett
are fellow high fliers with similarly impressive skill sets. The former lately led a multi-venue lawsuit for Leon Stambler against several large financial institutions and arranged transactions which raised over $50 million for his client. The composed arbitrator also employs alternative means to resolve contentious matters to the benefit of patrons. Puckett is equally potent representing plaintiffs and defendants; he recently handled several complicated inter partes
reviews for Leak Surveys, involving 24 declarations and 14 depositions – one of the largest factual records ever made in such proceedings – and also took aim for Mobile Telecommunications in a jury trial against BlackBerry.
Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP
With an A-to-Z IP offering and a closely integrated team of “extremely professional” lawyers, full-service leviathan Norton Rose Fulbright is an “excellent” one-stop shop, confidently stewarding patent portfolios for a litany of discerning clients. Its Texan bureaux are vital hubs in the firm’s international structure, which stretches to the four corners of the world. Houston-based James Repass
runs the global IP division; the transactions-focused lawyer has an unsurpassed understanding of the commercial implications of patents. From Austin, pharmaceuticals whizz Gina Shishima
leads the national IP practice; agile in prosecution, inter partes
reviews, European oppositions and patent litigation, Shishima embodies the firm’s holistic expertise. Another percipient adviser on patent acquisition and management is Rutherford Ross Viguet
, an authority on high-technology with a rich personal history of entrepreneurship and innovation; he is also adept at pleading before the PTAB. Together, they are part of a transactions and prosecution team which has filed a staggering 10,000 national patents and 25,000 foreign applications since 2010. Equally illustrious and industrious, the contentious crew has racked up 1,400 days in court annually on average in recent years. Significantly contributing to this tally are Charles Walker
, Brett Govett
and Richard Zembek
. “Razor sharp and light on his feet in the courtroom”, national head of IP disputes Walker has thrashed out multimillion-dollar verdicts for innovators in a number of sectors. Most recently, he represented CeramTec in a convoluted dispute with CeraMedic, using inter partes
reviews to invalidate patents which had been asserted against his client in a district court case. Walker also successfully defended Shell Oil Company in an infringement suit. The “very capable” Govett has varied commercial and IP law trial experience; “he is called upon to act in tricky cases that others can’t handle”. Of late he mounted a successful defence for Reflectix, winning judgments of non-infringement and patent invalidity. IP specialist Zepass is a wizard in court and in arbitration proceedings; also an able licensing professional, he employs numerous tactics to advance his clients’ interests.
Osha Liang LLP
Osha Liang appears in the guide for the first time this year, following a torrent of praise from innovators for its robust non-contentious offering: “Although many law firms understand legal questions and can analyse them, Osha Liang is among the few that take legal advice a step further, providing clear, actionable recommendations to support decision making by senior management." With a prestigious international clientele, the firm is commended for its panoramic approach: “Its professionals know how to prepare patent applications for cross-border filing projects and how to manage global portfolios, which is essential for multinational companies. They have greater hands-on experience of legal systems in Europe and China than many of their competitors; its lawyers have played a vital role as legal and technical intermediaries with Chinese counsel. The team also provides useful guidance to foreign companies on the latest US developments." Training scientists into lawyers, not vice versa, Osha Liang maintains the highest technical standards. The “top-shelf” patent drafting of oilfield and nanotechnology aficionado Jeffrey Bergman
exemplifies this: “He and his team take mere musings and turn them into music that delights the ears of patent offices around the world. Jeff turns our pig’s ear applications into silk purse patents; his arguments not only augment the ones sent to him, but are usually far better." Bergman’s attentive rights management is also well received: he is “as close to a partner as an outside counsel could be. Jeff keeps on top of everything, making sure that matters are handled in a timely fashion. He is also great for off-the-cuff advice, helping with queries that arise and giving a clear assessment of the situation and what needs to be done”.
Patterson + Sheridan LLP
Obtaining iron-wrought patents is second nature for Patterson + Sheridan, a prolific filer of unassailable applications. A glittering roster of loyal patrons attests to the firm’s ability to form strategic partnerships with serial innovators. First-class litigators such as Jayme Partridge
ensure that the firm packs a punch in contentious circumstances too. A former engineer and in-house counsel for ExxonMobil, Partridge perceives patent disputes from her clients’ standpoint; she also has a knack for illuminating abstruse technical matters for juries at trial.
Patent disputes are the bread and butter of Skiermont Derby, which represents both plaintiffs and defendants with commitment and vigour. The nimble boutique – formed in 2016 following the merger of Skiermont Puckett and Derby Curtis – crafts creative, lucid arguments to win the day for companies in the pharmaceuticals, aerospace and computing sectors. Captaining the side, Paul J Skiermont
delivers with finesse in court proceedings and inter partes
reviews. A $25 million settlement from Apple was a recent highlight for this go-getter, who also secured a favourable outcome for HRA Pharma in its Hatch-Waxman dispute with Teva.
Slater & Matsil LLP
Sharp IP outfit Slater & Matsil is renowned for procuring impregnable IP rights which add tangible firepower to clients’ business arsenals; as testament to its abilities, its name features at the top of Ocean Tomo’s patent quality rankings. Its versatile, collaborative professionals make the firm an invaluable ally for inventors across the technological spectrum.
Susman Godfrey LLP
“Top-tier trial boutique Susman Godfrey stands out for its tenacious, aggressive approach in hard-fought patent disputes.” Ascending to gold for litigation this year, the Houston-based firm is a dynamo when it comes to obtaining substantial damages verdicts against key players in the telecommunications and energy spaces. The compact ensemble has a star-studded bench and hires only the best young associates. Its “smart, high-quality litigators do a great job and really understand the economic aspects of a case”. The “amazing” Stephen Susman
provides inspirational leadership; according to one peer, he “is one of the finest lawyers I have ever worked against. He is a master at figuring out where the dots don’t connect and makes you work hard to get the arguments right – he has a unique talent for that”. Susman is currently lead counsel on a string of cases for Personalised Media Communications against Samsung, Funai and Vizio. Flanking him is Max Tribble
, “whose level of intelligence and strategic nous really sets him apart. Though formidable for opponents, he partners well and makes great use of the expert advice available to him”. Tribble lately led Jawbone to victory in the ITC against FitBit. Other outstanding litigators include Justin Nelson
and Joseph Grinstein
, who continue to make an impact in must-win cases across the country. Nelson is currently acting for Green Mountain Glass in a fraught dispute with Ardagh Glass. Grinstein secured one of the top verdicts of 2015 by persuading an Eastern District of Texas jury – which deliberated for less than 45 minutes – that ZTE USA had infringed two of DataQuill’s patents and to award his client $31.5 million. He also recently took on Hyundai and Nissan in Federal Circuit appeals on behalf of Diamond Coating Technologies.
Sutton McAughan Deaver PLLC
Dedicated exclusively to the resolution of IP disputes, compact litigation shop Sutton McAughan Deaver has made an enduring impression on the market through its stellar performances in high-stakes suits. With skills refined over two decades on the IP frontline, the “exceptional” Bob McAughan
is a never-say-die defender of clients’ rights; of late he had allegations of infringement against USA Sports dismissed, with one of the asserted patents declared invalid in the process.
Thompson & Knight LLP
Thompson & Knight draws on fine-tuned industry expertise when enforcing and monetising intellectual assets. With a thorough grounding in a variety of technologies, the firm’s litigation team can invariably find the most efficient path to victory; it has handled over 200 patent infringement suits since 2000. The “excellent” Bruce Sostek
is a fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers and a natural choice when contentious circumstances arise, thanks to his rapport with judges and quick thinking on his feet. One associate hails him as an “outstanding client adviser who is collegial and vastly experienced in the Eastern District of Texas. In a conflict, I recommend him first”. Set co-leader Jane Politz Brandt
maintains a bird’s-eye view of complicated, multi-venue litigations; while mechanical engineering buff Max Ciccarelli
– who is fluent in English, Spanish and Italian – is esteemed for his dexterous handling of cross-border campaigns, especially in Europe and Latin America. Also on the bench are Herbert Hammond
and Richard Wynne
. Both formidable trial lawyers, Hammond also impresses as a mediator and arbitrator; whereas Wynne closes down disputes with creative licensing agreements. Another key figure on the transactional side, Stephen Stein
ensures that clients get more from their technology; the former in-house counsel is a discerning adviser on joint ventures, acquisitions and outsourcing, especially in the electronics, semiconductor and computing domains.
Vinson & Elkins LLP
Intimately familiar with the state’s legal landscape, Vinson & Elkins’s Texas team renders sterling litigation and transactional services. For one peer, the firm is “at the top of my list; it has deep roots, wide capabilities and a wealth of experience – definitely a stalwart in a number of practice areas”. With a full-bodied corporate line-up and talented lawyers trained in all aspects of IP law, it has a 360-degree understanding of patent matters, which is discernible in the quality of its work. A “superb professional and fierce competitor in the courtroom”, Steve Borgman is someone to fight your corner in hotly contested patent bouts; he has overcome the most dogged opposition in federal courts and the ITC, and has a sure touch in alternative dispute resolution. Borgman recently hit a home run for Apogee Telecom, clearing it of infringement by persuading a district court judge that Network Apparel’s invention was not patentable. Craig Tyler has dealt with more than 140 patent infringement briefs over two decades, taking a number through to jury trial. Fellow first-chair lawyer Michael Simons also thrives in the most intense disputes – much like Fred Williams, who boasts additional proficiency in trade secret and antitrust law. Williams has recorded a string of conquests recently, successfully defending Lenovo in a suit filed by Tranxition and HTC America against allegations of infringement brought by Adaptix. Straddling the contentious/non-contentious divide, the “sharp, intelligent and responsive” Peter Mims is as silky at the deal negotiating table as he is deadly in the courtroom. Showcasing this versatility, he brokered a definitive agreement between Trican Well Service and Keane Group, including a number of complex licensing deals, and successfully served as lead counsel for Mobilize in an infringement skirmish with TDE Petroleum Data Services.
Ward, Smith & Hill PLLC
Ward, Smith & Hill is a top-drawer specialist in Eastern District of Texas litigation. “One of the best trial lawyers in the state and a major figure nationally”, John Ward Jr
is the leader of the pack; with a polished courtroom technique, keen commercial law insight and first-hand knowledge of the local judiciary, the hotshot enforcer hits the target every time. Helping VirnetX to win $302 million in infringement damages against Apple was a major recent highlight.
Weil Gotshal’s crack Texan litigators form part of a joined-up coast-to-cast dispute resolution offering. With particular aptitude in the life sciences and high technology, the Houston office is a first port of call for many of the firm’s elite national and international clients, including Adobe, Microsoft, Samsung, Yahoo, Intel and Eli Lilly. Supplying the ammo is seasoned gunslinger Doug McClellan
. His partner Garland Stephens
lately scored a critical victory for Tesla Motors, having its opponent’s claims ruled invalid on the grounds of non-patentability.
The Houston branch of Winston & Strawn can effortlessly resolve the most perplexing patent puzzles. An essential component of a country-wide practice some 180 strong, it collaborates seamlessly with colleagues on national and cross-border litigation efforts. Executing on contentious briefs in the local rocket docket is a forte, thanks to “excellent advocates” such as managing partner John Keville, an out-and-out trial lawyer who specialises in intellectual property. He “is fantastic in court and has a gift for relating to judges and juries”, which accounts for his “illustrious track record of success”. With a flair for a whole range of technologies, Keville has developed an enviably varied client list during his long career. He recently proved his mettle by prevailing in an infringement suit against Mars on behalf of defendant True Science – no mean feat in the Eastern District of Texas. Keville has also carried the day for plaintiff M-I, having a preliminary injunction granted and upheld on appeal. Another go-to litigator is Joseph Lechtenberger, a former petroleum industry engineer of many years with an intuitive grasp of the factors at play in oilfield IP disputes. Like Keville, he favours a multi-pronged approach to patent battles, often making skilful use of post-grant proceedings as well as trade secret and antitrust law to secure the optimum outcome for patrons. The firm added to its roster of heavyweights with the hire of Thomas Melsheimer from Fish & Richardson. The “fine courtroom lawyer” “presents his case excellently, can think on his feet and establishes a connection with juries”. “He has excelled in many high-profile cases.”