Ashby & Geddes
IP litigation is a central plank of the broad general practice maintained by Ashby & Geddes, an efficient outfit known for its dogged pursuit of results that make good business sense. In Steven Balick
and John Day
, the set has “two smart, experienced and responsive lawyers” who frequently act as Delaware counsel for discerning corporate clients, as well as some of the top trial lawyers in the United States. Balick, who chairs the IP litigation group, has served on the Delaware District Court’s Lawyer Advisory Committee and knows all the nuances of local practice. The same is true for Day, who is a trusted ally in mission-critical suits across the life sciences and high-tech domains.
Given the highly specialised nature of its IP offering and the personal touch with which it renders its services, Bayard feels like a boutique but has the well-rounded nature of a commercial firm. It also represents the best of old and new in the marketplace, demonstrated by its commitment to quality and its efficiency. Whether taking the lead or serving as local counsel, the IP unit is best known for its thoroughness, precision and tactical dexterity in patent litigation; fielding compact teams comprised of the best-suited experts, it tackles both high-tech and life sciences cases with alacrity. Concerning the latter, it has experience representing originators and generics; opposing counsel should be aware that this group knows what you are thinking and what your next moves are likely to be. Chairing the corporate and IP litigation groups is Stephen Brauerman
, “a strong litigator respected by the judges of all state and federal Delaware courts”. Brauerman is a “solid and consistent” advocate and scores highly for “always being available” and “insightful when strategic decisions need to be made”. Packing almost four decades of experience, fellow director Richard Kirk
is one of the most reliable guys to have fighting your corner. He is a big name in the local IP community, having previously served as president of the Delaware State Bar Association and being a current member of the Delaware District Court Rules Advisory Committee.
Connolly Gallagher LLP
“Professional, polished, accommodating, flexible and a joy to work with”, Connolly Gallagher has won so many emphatic recommendations from local and national commentators – all of whom are also highly rated in the IAM Patent 1000
– that as a result, the commercial litigation boutique makes its directory debut this year. Elevating the set is founding partner Arthur Connolly III
, a seasoned litigator who is “favourably well known among Delaware judges and indispensable in helping outsiders navigate the complicated rules that govern local trial procedures”. “Savvy and talented as a patent litigator, and warm as a person, he is one of the state’s true stars.” Instructed on diverse cases, he has been busy lately with HTC, Merck Sharp & Dohme, Hospira and other big hitters, putting in sterling performances on both sides of the docket.
Devlin Law Firm LLC
Creative, nimble, accurate and strategic are words frequently used to describe Devlin Law Firm. The most complex patent cases pose no problem for the compact IP specialist thanks to the composure and experience of managing partner Timothy Devlin
, a former co-head of IP risk management at Fish & Richardson, the most prolific and one of the best patent litigation shops in the world. He has taken the lead in a striking 200-plus patent infringement actions, in the course of which he has represented plaintiffs and defendants and got to grips with a remarkable array of technologies. Having recently recruited former Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor partner James Lennon
, the firm puts formidable firepower at the disposal of clients, helping it earn its first inclusion in the IAM Patent 1000
for 2018. As someone who can bring greater clarity and concision to lead counsel submissions, Lennon is an excellent choice as local co-counsel; his stance is commercial and his scientific and technical acumen wide ranging and extensive.
DLA Piper LLP (US)
In contrast to many of its competitors, DLA Piper is an organisation with truly global horizons; its lawyers, wherever they are based in the network, do a fantastic job getting the whole firm to pull in the direction of its clients. Playing central roles on large trial teams formed for the benefit of household name technology companies is Wilmington-based Denise Seastone Kraft
, who is as percipient as they come on Delaware law issues. She thrives in the cut and thrust of litigation and has been involved in a flurry of trials lately, acting among others, for a leading Japanese conglomerate; when the pressure is on, she keeps a cool head and works tirelessly to get the job done.
Anybody who has litigated in Delaware knows and respects the name Farnan. A connoisseur of plaintiff representation in high-stakes patent litigation, “it takes on meritorious actions and showcases a thoughtful, measured approach”. A former district of Delaware judge, Joseph Farnan
is a true heavyweight in the diamond state. He advocates zealously for his clients, but he does not just have one gear; vastly experienced in alternative dispute resolution, he knows when to bring the heat and when to dial back. Brian Farnan
is another agile litigator who stays razor sharp thanks to a varied workload of patent, commercial and civil cases.
Fish & Richardson PC
As one of the most prolific, best-rounded and successful patent outfits in the United States, Fish & Richardson needs no introduction. The ebbs and flows of the market have caused concern for many boutiques, but not Fish & Richardson, which maintains a first-rate post-grant practice and is home to world-class trial lawyers who are in hot demand up and down the country. The Wilmington office houses a concentration of life sciences experts who put in arresting performances in complex pharmaceutical and biotechnology suits, the key names being Douglas McCann
, Susan Morrison
and Martina Tyreus Hufnal
. Unflinching in the limelight, McCann was a key cog in a trial team that in 2017 obtained the post-trial wipe-out of a $200 million jury verdict in favour of Merck & Co against his client Gilead Sciences in a complex battle over hepatitis C drug patents – an incredible result brought about by a perfectly poised US trial and global litigation strategy. Delaware managing principal Morrison is considered to be one of the country’s rising star pharmaceutical litigators by a slew of branded drug companies. Hufnal litigates under the Hatch-Waxman Act with winning results and comes up trumps in chemical and software cases; she also takes point on a next-generation training initiative for junior lawyers. One advocate with a unique practice is Jeremy Anderson
, a specialist in litigation in the non-jury Delaware Court of Chancery; he is an authority on the subject of technology litigation in this forum and more broadly, and has published widely on it. Of course, Fish & Richardson excels in patent prosecution and strategic counselling, and those seeking to avail themselves of a leading expert would do well to call Gwilym Attwell
. As well as being a brilliant life sciences prosecutor, he is an important contributor to the firm’s high-flying Patent Trial and Appeal Board practice.
Morris James LLP
Morris James’s decades of patent infringement trial experience brings comfort when trouble brews in Delaware. The firm is considered by many to be “one of the leading local counsels” thanks to its triumvirate of seasoned advocates Kenneth Dorsney
, Richard Herrmann
and Mary Matterer
. Chair of the IP practice Dorsney is “a fantastic lawyer and person. He provides invaluable insight regarding Delaware judges and court procedures and is proactive in advising on the best strategies to take”. One of the most seasoned litigators in the state is Herrmann; he not only plays assistance roles perfectly and has fans in all of the top national law firms, but is also an artful persuader who can lead. Like Hermann, Matterer deploys on diverse litigation assignments and always delivers.
Morris Nichols Arsht & Tunnell LLP
A “top-notch firm full of experienced, senior litigators”, Morris Nichols Arsht & Tunnell is seen by many as the best of the best in Delaware. It consistently leads the field in terms of the number of cases it handles each year and has without a shadow of a doubt the top patent law individual in Jack Blumenfeld
. He’s a “dean of the patent bar” and renowned nationwide as a trial lawyer with unbeatable experience. He may be the pole star, but the Morris Nichols team is a constellation of talent. Blue-blooded litigators Karen Jacobs
and Maryellen Noreika
stand out for the commitment they demonstrate to their clients and craft; Jacobs, together with Blumenfeld, has recently stepped up to bat for a host of telecoms companies, including AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile in a selection of cases against Intellectual Ventures. As testament to her high standing, Noreika was recently nominated to serve as a District of Delaware judge. A former chair of the executive committee, Rodger Smith II
is someone who can marshal the firm’s full resources effectively. As a patent litigator, he is relied on by blue-chip companies such as Dow Chemical, on whose behalf he has recently been litigating a noteworthy trade secret misappropriation action in the Delaware Court of Chancery. Of counsel Mary Graham
has been in the headlines lately, having served as local counsel for TC Heartland in litigation against Kraft Foods Group Brands in the now famous venue case.
Potter Anderson & Corroon LLP
In contrast to many in the state, Potter Anderson & Corroon maintains a substantial prosecution practice alongside its litigation offering; its four-partner, four-associate team contains two PhDs and several individuals registered to practise before the US Patent and Trademark Office. A biochemist with a decade of lab experience, Janet Reed
helms the IP transactions and counselling practice and demonstrates exceptional proficiency in the protection of food, medicine and agriculture innovations. All the same, the set is best known for its contentious prowess and willingness to get down into the nitty gritty aspects of cases, whether taking the lead or providing local assistance. David Moore
, who chairs the litigation group, is routinely on the frontlines of important cases and, hot on the heels of the Supreme Court’s TC Heartland
decision, recently won a dismissal of suit for lack of venue on behalf of Cook Medical in defence of a claim filed by Boston Scientific; on the plaintiff side, he secured a finding of patent validity and infringement for EL du Pont de Nemours after a five-day jury trial. Philip Rovner
has been no less busy appearing on both sides of the ‘v’ in high stakes competitor-versus-competitor disputes. One West Coast lawyer calls him “the best person to co-counsel with”, citing his “second-to-none legal knowledge and familiarity with the Delaware bench”.
Richards Layton & Finger PA
A one-stop shop for corporate clients – and the largest firm in the state – Richards Layton & Finger cuts a dash. Some of its very best lawyers can be found in the litigation group, which battles regularly and valiantly on behalf of technology companies in complex patent infringement suits and other commercially consequential actions. Coming in for especially vociferous praise is Kelly Farnan
, who presides over the Delaware Chapter of the Federal Bar Association. “Unbelievably smart, an outstanding leader and a top-notch litigator she is very tough but fair and reasonable too. She knows the local courts extremely well.” However, the title of most experienced goes to IP group head and litigation vice chair Fred Cottrell
. He regularly takes to the podium as a speaker on IP topics, local district court practice and alternative dispute resolution and is an ace at defending against lawsuits filed by non-practising entities and in interlaced IP and antitrust contentions. A veteran of large civil and commercial cases, Jeffrey Moyer
can also be trusted when the stakes are high. Chinese multinational TCL Corporation recently turned to him to defend allegations of direct, induced, contributory and wilful infringement against all its WiFi-enabling products. The versatile litigator should also be noted as a go-to for licensing disputes.
Shaw Keller LLP
Patent, trade secret and commercial litigation is the metier of Shaw Keller, a boutique known for its innovative tactics and efficient, business-oriented approach. As well as fielding expert operators on the local litigation scene, it also fights the good fight further afield, including at the International Trade Commission in Washington DC. Founding partners John Shaw
and Karen Keller
command a great deal of respect and are cited as “high-quality, flexible litigators who get great results in a nice mix of cases”. Shaw is an accomplished engineer who loves to get hands on with the technology as much as he enjoys case strategy ideation. Keller crosses between the high-tech and life sciences realms without batting an eyelid. The pair often collaborate to form the ultimate double team for clients.
Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor LLP
Praise abounds for Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor, a full-service outfit steeped in Delaware IP litigation. Much of the commentary focuses on the heroic efforts of partners Anne Shea Gaza
and Adam Poff
, who are always right there in the thick of the action. “Anne is extremely committed to her clients and responds to calls and queries instantaneously – and around the clock. She knows the Delaware scene intimately and has effective working relationships with everyone. She demonstrates meticulous attention to detail and has a refreshing, can-do attitude.” Stryker and T-Mobile are just two of the industry leaders she has represented lately. “Adam consistently offers accurate assessments of how the Delaware court will view certain issues and has great recommendations on how to advocate with maximum impact. He’s a terrific attorney – smart, with excellent judgement.”