Transactions and trial firm Akerman may fly under the radar when it comes to intellectual property, but it certainly has a nice thing going in Denver, with a life sciences-focused patent practice that also extends into high-technology areas. The main draw is John Burke
, “a great attorney and a great guy” who is “well known for his excellent work in the pharmaceutical field”. “Excellent to deal with on a business level”, Burke utilises his in-house experience to advise on patent strategy and give opinions in a commercially meaningful way; sewing up licensing contracts is another forte. Shelley Mixon
is a fellow transactional ace, although her practice also encompasses contentious activities, including patent and trademark litigation. Though life sciences activities take centre stage, she is also highly proficient when it comes to semiconductors, telecommunications and software.
This “politically astute and connected firm” is “really thoughtful in the way it grows and moves into new areas”, and is “an up-and-coming name” which is “making serious inroads with leading technology companies”. What started out not too long ago as a prosecution and licensing practice has since evolved into an all-round patent service which also includes litigation; by listing members of the group in all tables, the IAM Patent 1000
underscores its impressive versatility. Cara Crowley-Weber
, Paul Prendergast
and Craig Hemenway
each feature on the prosecution and transactions tables and are pillars of the practice. Crowley-Weber and Prendergast both have PhDs and act primarily in the life sciences and chemistry fields; there is no doubting their technical credentials, but they have also demonstrated their strategic and commercial acuity time and again. Thinking outside the box but then distilling ideas down to deliver practical, cost-effective advice is something they do extremely well. Pragmatism and commerciality are also displayed by Hemenway in his high-technology domain. Making his inaugural appearance in the guide this year, trial lawyer Evan Rothstein
co-chairs the IP group with Crowley-Weber and serves as an anchor of the litigation practice. A pathfinder in complex cases, he digs into the details to provide rich analyses that go to the heart of each case.
Cooley’s name is synonymous with legal leadership in the technology world. The Silicon Valley outfit is a big name nationwide and while its Colorado crew has thinned out within the past year, it is still a force locally thanks to the continued presence of celebrated trial lawyer Jim Brogan
. “Super strong and incredibly sharp”, is the verdict on Brogan, who maintains a laser focus on the most critical issues from preparation right through to the end.
Dorsey & Whitney LLP
Dorsey & Whitney has been practising IP law for so long that it has seen and done it all; this seasoning makes for a comforting and efficient service. Patent group chair Lee Osman
has instilled a business-minded, customer-first approach in his charges, so clients are always assured of 100% effort. One of the most popular lawyers in the state, Osman has a devoted following which keeps the entire group busy at all times. An all-round counsellor and portfolio developer, he relishes difficult tasks such as risk analysis and is brilliant at delivering under budget. When infringement issues loom large, Osman dispenses sage guidance, but Gregory Tamkin
is the person to seek out if things get really serious; the adroit commercial litigator can be relied on for the expedient resolution of IP conflicts.
Holland & Hart LLP
Nothing in patent practice is off limits for Holland & Hart’s Colorado IP team, which includes some of the best prosecutors, litigators and deal makers in the Centennial State. Delivering a quality product in the timeliest fashion, Michael Drapkin
’s prosecution unit continues to perform flawlessly. The group’s investment in sophisticated automation tools means that routine tasks are dispatched with alacrity, while the clever deployment of productive patent agents is also streamlining things and reducing costs; this frees up time for the lawyers to channel their talents in the most strategically impactful way. “Hardworking, driven, energetic and personable, Drapkin is up to any challenge.” He keeps industry pioneers such as Qualcomm, Micron and Covidien coming back for more, because “he understands what clients need and marshals a big team very effectively". Holland & Hart has the deepest bench of patent litigators in the state, with four partners commended in the IAM Patent 1000
. Donald Degnan
, Timothy Getzoff
and James Hartley
all run big cases independently, but they also collaborate with each other in situations where added firepower is needed. They recently acted for Server Technology against American Power Conversion in a Federal Circuit appeal; gold-listed Degnan and Getzoff also joined up to obtain a jury verdict of non-infringement for Schrader International against a well-funded plaintiff. In his role as IP chair, Degnan inspires and motivates teams which are “dedicated and responsive at all times”. The prolific Getzoff has handled over 150 IP litigations in the last two decades of his career, including numerous trials to verdict. Hartley is an American College of Trial Lawyers fellow and, along with Jane Michaels
, one of the most experienced advocates in the region. It isn’t just about the lawyers, though – the firm’s in-house litigation consultants and graphics specialists all contribute to the presentation of a compelling narrative. Tracy Gray
leads the way on the licensing and transactional side. Armed with an understanding of technology and of brands, she can architect monetisation programmes that capitalise on all the strengths of a diverse IP portfolio.
Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP
“With David Sipiora
, Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton will always be an incredible force in patent litigation.” A “fabulous high-stakes trial lawyer with a truly national practice”, Sipiora has lately been engaged in heavyweight Section 337 investigations at the International Trade Commission, in both offensive and defensive capacities. He knows just how to play it in any venue and makes regular district court and Federal Circuit appearances, too. Wherever, whatever, clients love him because he is in it for the science. The prosecution and transactional side of the practice has an equally strong talisman in Darin Gibby
, who launched the Denver office in 1995 and has been instrumental in its evolution since. Gibby stays sharp by keeping abreast of movements in patent law, policy and business, and dispenses advice that is finely calibrated to afford clients an advantage today and tomorrow. Foreign associates hail him as “an authoritative speaker and expert on patent prosecution and litigation who responds swiftly to any enquiry”. Alongside him on the prosecution and transactions tables is Thomas Franklin
, a high-tech expert whose years in industry have given him a nuanced understanding of patents as business assets. Recommended for prosecution, Denver managing partner Eugene Bernard
has abundant patent procurement experience and a gift for spotting and filling the gaps in a portfolio. For on-the-money competitor and infringement analyses, he is the person to call.
Lathrop & Gage LLP
Lathrop & Gage is more committed to prosecution than many other national commercial players, even as it continues to expand its contentious practice. While the Boston office is an epicentre of life sciences expertise, its Colorado branches can put plenty of heft behind high-technology projects, with a slew of advanced degrees in areas such as electrical engineering and material science. Global patent strategist Scott Alter
has been doing much to enhance the Lathrop & Gage brand since he joined the firm in late 2015. The rigour of his portfolio analyses inspires confidence in clients, while his prudent systematisation of routine prosecution tasks keeps the team competitive in a market where better, cheaper, faster procurement results are demanded. Though he has a broad technical compass, Alter is especially proficient in the software and digital technology fields, and speaks with great authority on the issue of patent eligibility. Jon Trembath
, meanwhile, puts in robust performances in patent litigation. His ability to boil down intricate technical concepts helps to carry the day at trial, while an appreciation of the emotional and moral elements of a case makes a more subtle contribution to his success. The former Federal Circuit clerk (for Randall Rader) builds strategies with appellate success in mind, too.
Merchant & Gould
One of the country’s pre-eminent boutiques, Merchant & Gould has spent over a century in the game. It isn’t stuck in the past, however, and boasts the staff diversity, cutting-edge technical expertise and commerciality of the most modern service providers. With litigators, prosecutors and deal negotiators all on site, the Denver team can field just about any patent query going. However, with George Lewis
and Timothy Scull
in the fold, it is perhaps best known for its dexterous portfolio management and development. “Super smart, brilliant technically and a personable guy on top of it all”, Lewis has a holistic understanding of intellectual property and a talent for giving clear commercial impetus to the most diverse portfolios. Scull keeps patents at the forefront of his thinking and is feted for his software and computer architecture prowess. Peter Gergely
and Kristin Stoll-DeBell
put the emphasis on IP litigation and can lay any type of infringement dispute to rest. Gergely is fluent in all kinds of technology, from electronics to life sciences; DeBell has an affinity for software in particular, but can quickly get to grips with all technical subject matter. The resident licensing mastermind is Gregory Leibold
, who co-heads a dedicated transactional group as well as chairing the electrical and software sections. Having spent time in-house in IP value creation roles, he has an instinctive feel for what clients are seeking to accomplish; a wealth of private practice experience means he also knows how to make that happen.
Neugeboren O’Dowd PC
The patent offering at Boulder set-up Neugeboren O’Dowd is comprehensive, encompassing everything from prosecution to litigation and transactions; it can also fill a quasi in-house counsel role if this suits clients’ needs. This versatility reflects the expertise and background of founding partner Craig Neugeboren
, who has been involved in all aspects of patent practice since his Cooley and Lyon & Lyon days. In between, he has added a wealth of in-house experience to his résumé – once again, in do-it-all roles – which has granted him a vital commercial perspective. He keeps his ear to the ground in terms of patent law and policy developments, and his percipient advice helps clients to stay ahead of the curve.
Perkins Coie LLP
Pacific Northwest – and national – powerhouse Perkins Coie makes its presence felt in Denver with a “significant and impressive practice” that is “attracting work away from the coast”. The firm has a lot of assets locally: anyone who’s anyone is familiar with Peter Kinsella
, for example. He is a leading transactional light who “really stays on top of developments in the law”. David St John-Larkin
makes a big impression as a “software guru”; he pursues a licensing and prosecution practice for innovators such as Microsoft and Fitbit. Listed alongside him on the prosecution table is Michael Henson
, an all-weather IP professional with blended patent and trademark expertise, a strong grasp of myriad technologies and dual protection and commercialisation know-how. A master at obtaining invalidity judgments and preliminary injunctions, Amanda Tessar
is the main patent litigator locally. In keeping with Perkins Coie’s national patent litigation practice, she keeps her cool in high-stakes, competitor-on-competitor battles and is a repository of trust for marquee technology and life sciences companies.
Polsinelli is a rising force in intellectual property and recently welcomed on board over 40 specialists from boutique Novak Druce; it also has two new offices – in Houston and Boston – from which to service its national and international clientele. The firm has “some fabulous guys in Denver”, including Gregory Durbin
, Wade Johnson
and Timothy Worrall
, each of whom receives enthusiastic references. Ace portfolio manager Durbin is “smart, aggressive for his clients, energetic and personable”. “One of the hardest workers around”, prosecution and opinions specialist Johnson “throws himself into any project and is always focused on quality and outcome”. Life sciences patent strategist and biophysical chemistry PhD Worrall is a “sharp lawyer who is always thinking about his clients’ business interests and looking for ways to add value”. The trio focus on the more non-contentious aspects of the practice, but Michael Dulin
is on hand should things get hot. He is a commercial and IP litigator who, having authored local patent rules and chaired the state bar association’s IP section, contributes much to life in this vibrant IP community. All told, “it’s a great crew and you can’t argue with the calibre of their clients and quality of their leadership”.
“Sheridan Ross has an established reputation as a leading boutique in the Rocky Mountain Region – it is really good at just flat-out prosecuting patent applications. It does a fine job, offering personal attention to clients and a reasonably priced service.” The stats are sure to impress – the firm obtains over 500 US patents annually and 2,500 patents in total, including international filings – but it is the quality more than anything which keeps clients coming back for more. Firm co-chair Gary Connell
is a touchpoint for biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies and currently serves on the board of directors for the Colorado BioScience Association. For mechanical, electro-mechanical and chemical inventions, look to seasoned prosecutor Bruce Kugler
. He does a lot for local companies, but views protection from an international perspective. Douglas Swartz
earns IAM Patent 1000
laurels for prosecution, but is considered an all-rounder when it comes to obtaining and monetising patent assets. Appreciative of his adaptability, Silicon Valley innovator Flex (formerly Flextronics) relies on him as its primary outside IP counsel. Portfolio manager Todd Blakely
always has a clever solution up his sleeve – not just for preparation and prosecution, but also when infringement clouds form on the horizon. The litigation squad also has an unerring ability to control costs and run things leanly and efficiently while meeting and exceeding exacting service standards; it is led by Rob Brunelli
, a veteran advocate with formidable legal and business skills. The top name on the fight card is John Posthumus
, who has a national reputation for winning trials.
Swanson & Bratschun LLC
Swanson & Bratschun “dominates the local life sciences market”. Its cutting-edge scientists-turned-lawyers – many of whom have advanced degrees and postdoctoral research experience – turn out pristine patent applications, in addition to percipient strategic advice on freedom-to-operate, patentability and infringement issues. Founding partner and organic chemistry PhD Barry Swanson
is a true master of the chemical and biotechnological arts, with vast experience procuring patents and handling administrative contentious proceedings. The high-technology practice here is also humming, driven by the likes of former IBM software developer Chad King
. Litigation expertise is supplied by Daniel Young
: “His analytics and thinking are always impressive. In court, he doesn’t game the system, but just focuses on getting to the right decision for his clients with integrity.”
Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP
Not even a handful of firms in Colorado can take the lead on the highest-stakes national patent litigation, but even in this group, WilmerHale is in a league of its own. “It scored a coup when it brought Natalie Hanlon Leh
and Mary Sooter
on board in 2015, and it looks like they’ve been very successful in growing the Denver office.” Together with Benjamin Fernandez
, “they make a talented bunch”. Hanlon Leh is equal parts trial lawyer and all-round IP authority; Sooter has a winning touch in telecommunications, electrical engineering and computer science cases; while Fernandez occupies a strategic counsellor role in which he draws effectively on diverse portfolio management, competitive landscape analysis and transactional know-how.