Alston & Bird LLP
Alston & Bird has one of the most complete IP platforms of any Am Law 50 member. From its California offices alone, it can offer the full range of patent services; however, clients never have to draw from a geographically restricted resource pool – they get the benefit of a national chest of treasures. The organisation is best known for its contentious capabilities and the work of individuals such as Los Angeles IP litigation head Louis Karasik
keeps it in the headlines for all the right reasons. The veteran trial lawyer has gone the distance in patent, copyright, trademark and trade secret cases, and is not to be trifled with in other commercial contexts either. As a result of his diverse experience, he has developed a deep playbook which he recently put to use in successfully defending Amazon from infringement claims brought by M Edge Accessories. In April 2015 the Atlanta native outfit strengthened its litigation bench with the hire of former Akin Gump man David Stein
. He marries technical dexterity with silky trial skills and a strong client-service focus, and his extensive experience sparring in the Eastern District of Texas will be a boon to Alston & Bird’s high-tech clientele. In Silicon Valley, concentrated life sciences expertise comes in the form of dynamic prosecution duo Romy Celli
and Joe Liebeschuetz
. Clients love their ability to craft watertight individual patents and then bring them together into a coherent and commercially compelling whole; their global take on patent strategy is also much appreciated. With its robust corporate and finance practices running deep in key areas of industry – including technology and telecoms – the firm is home to a dedicated IP and technology transactions unit. Jonathan Gordon
continued his excellent work for emerging companies this past year and further developed his book of business for research institution spin-offs. Falling into the latter camp is Optivus Proton Therapy, which sought his wise counsel on its technology transfer agreement with Loma Linda University – a world leader in cancer treatment. The IP and technology aspects of marquee M&A deals also keep him busy.
Many of the most innovative companies in the United States – and the world – make a beeline to Blakely Sokoloff Taylor & Zafman, a prosecution and counselling shop known far and wide for the sheer quality of the patents that it obtains. It marries abundant technical aptitude across many areas with an innately commercial approach to really turn heads; not many bring this combination to the table. While prosecution is the set’s meat and drink, it offers a four-course menu with post-grant proceedings, licensing and litigation as the other dishes. Although departures have been an issue recently, there saw certainly no shortage of talent on the books. James Scheller
is a connoisseur of electronic, computer and internet technologies. The sage counsellor saw what it is like over on the contentious side early in his career and consequently knows how to craft patents that will stand up to scrutiny in the courts.
The past year has been a humdinger for the never-settle-for-less litigators at influential technology powerhouse Cooley. Taking advantage of developments in the law vis-à-vis Section 101, it has done a better job than virtually anyone of killing off patents on subject-matter eligibility grounds, and doing so in every forum possible. Across all types of patent dispute, it demonstrates a freshness of thought that endears it to highly creative companies, including Facebook, Microsoft and eBay. Heidi Keefe
’s passion for new technology and for pushing boundaries makes her a client magnet. “She is an excellent oral advocate and a clear communicator,” say peers. She has taken the firm’s post-grant practice to new levels recently, while keeping on top of a slew of high-stakes district court spats. Thomas Friel
is another trial talent of note: “He is outstanding – one of the best. Tom is someone everybody likes and trusts, and he puts together incredibly effective cases.” Michael Rhodes
is a senior member of the squad and has previously served as chair of the national litigation group. His amalgam of IP, internet and privacy expertise is a must for social media enterprises. Ask anyone, anywhere – Cooley sets the gold standard when it comes to technology and patent transactions. International head of life sciences Barbara Kosacz
’s ability to assemble labyrinthine global strategic partnering deals is the stuff of industry legend. Princeton PhD Marya Postner
also has the magic touch: “Constructive, thoughtful and a straight shooter who gets deals done quickly, Marya really shines.” Licensing marvel Robert Jones
makes this an exceptionally strong life sciences bench. He never takes his eye off the commercial end game, even when knee-deep in intricate contractual provisions that form the underpinnings of big-ticket deals.
Covington & Burling LLP
Some of illustrious DC outfit Covington’s big guns are situated on the West Coast and Silicon Valley partner Robert Haslam
is one of the biggest. The revered trial lawyer has, throughout his career, handled the types of dispute that come to define technology markets globally. “Bob is a truly fine lawyer and a real gentleman. He isn’t one of those scorched-earth types; he’s a big-picture thinker.” Los Angeles-based Alan Blankenheimer
also draws praise. Clients call him “incredibly cerebral” and note, with much admiration, his ability to “see and think through all angles”. While the two major-leaguers focus on the high-technology realm, the life sciences do not receive short shrift. Kurt Calia
gamely weighs in on fracases involving cutting-edge biotechnology and pharmaceutical inventions, although he also knows a thing or two about software, business methods and nanotechnology. Robert Fram
is one of the set’s most versatile operators, in terms of both technical subject matter and IP discipline; juggling significant patent, copyright and trade secret matters and licensing disputes is all in a day’s work for him. He is also a frequent flyer with Samsung in district courts and at the International Trade Commission (ITC). The tone of excellence set by the litigators is mirrored by those plying the transactional trade. On life sciences tie-ups, the group is “great to negotiate with – it has been doing deals in the area for so long and has an excellent playbook”. Such is the demand for Amy Toro
and James Snipes
that rarely has the ink dried on one major deal before they are putting pen to paper on the next. Toro blends expertise on the licensing of standardised technologies into her practice, while Snipes brings international credentials to the mix – he served as head of corporate at Covington, London, and has worked in Tokyo. Evan Cox
effortlessly manoeuvres across technical divides and, like Snipes, has strong global experience. He is a familiar face to many European and Asian companies and foreign lawyers, which helps to smooth the path to successful collaborations.
Dentons’ West Coast offices have been cleaning up in terms of excellent client feedback, mostly focusing on its thriving practice before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) of the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Kevin Greenleaf
and Lissi Mojica
, who both debut in the IAM Patent 1000
this year, are two of the busiest lawyers in the post-grant area right now. By all accounts, they are doing a fabulous job: “Their knowledge of PTAB practice is astounding – Lissi with her USPTO Central Re-exam Unit background and Kevin with his track record and writing and speaking. They understand the procedures and know how to implement them in narrow and uniquely challenging circumstances. They can recount virtually all relevant board and Federal Circuit decisions, and when you call them up for an impromptu talk, it’s like they have pre-researched the very thing you want to ask about. Their client service skills are amazing, too – they take the time to explain matters in a way that your general counsel and other non-patent people can relate to. There is no project that is too big or too small for them and they make you look good in front of your own team, which is always a huge plus. Another differentiation is their understanding of patent subject-matter eligibility issues post-Alice
, and how they play out in patent office proceedings.” The firm’s California IP practice expanded as a result of the merger with McKenna Long & Aldridge. The union brought biopharmaceutical wunderkind Stephanie Seidman
on board, who was welcomed with open arms: “Stephanie comes up with fireproof safety mechanisms to protect your intellectual property. She is proficient in application drafting and can almost predict the exact route that a patent may follow in the prosecution process, which makes her very cost effective.” One client comments: “Without her, our business would not have had the success it has.” “Renzo Rocchegiani
spent several years as an examiner and then worked on patent prosecution before switching to litigation. He has an excellent understanding of how to analyse patents for infringement and invalidity, and now has many years of experience applying that in a litigation context. He provides outstanding strategic advice and is very cooperative and client-service oriented.” He frequently collaborates with fellow all-rounder Song Jung, based in DC, to get results for multiple LG divisions.
DLA Piper LLP
The prolific DLA Piper tries more patent cases than just about any other firm in the country. It is near the top of the league in the win/loss column, too. Corporate counsel come here in droves, thanks to its unrivalled ability to ensure a consistent approach to worldwide disputes. Its lawyers demonstrate impressive range and can dial in different strategies and skill sets to tactically advise emerging companies. Rousing commander and global IP co-chair John Allcock
has orchestrated a remarkable rise to patent litigation prominence; a leader by example, he has lifted the trophy in many notable cases, thanks to his polished presentation skills and outright hard work behind the scenes. Mentioned in the same breath as the famous Morgan Chu of Irell & Manella, “John’s is another name that comes to mind straight away. He focuses on the key issues and is a great communicator. He’s enjoyable to listen to and that becomes important when you have a jury sitting there for days or even weeks.” Artfully crossing technical divides, he has increased the contentious group’s focus on the life sciences while maintaining intensity in the high-tech space. Fellow San Diegan Kathryn Riley Grasso
remains unfazed no matter what technology you throw at her; the cross-country litigator has seen frontline combat in multiple patent jury trials. Silicon Valley’s Mark Fowler
can confidently state his case in any forum and clients want him by their side wherever things are kicking off. His sharp intellect and pragmatism make him well suited to complex disputes involving tens of patents. However, DLA Piper is not merely a destination for litigants; it is also a prime address for those looking to procure and monetise patents, making it a super-efficient one-stop shop. Molecular biologist Lisa Haile
does not let her role as global life sciences co-chair compromise her day-to-day client activities in any way; the IP protection specialist is constantly courted for her precious patentability, non-infringement and validity opinions, and her transactional nous. IP strategist Mark Radcliffe
has seen just about every type of deal imaginable and has breathed life into totally new transaction classes; software, cloud computing and the Internet are his specialisms.
Durie Tangri LLP
This patent litigation boutique “sets the benchmark in terms of intellectual firepower – you can never discount its smart, creative lawyers in a case”. “It’s a compact setup, but it is a testament to its quality that major clients hire it and partner it with a larger outfit to handle the biggest cases which it otherwise would not have the capacity for.” Founding partner Daralyn Durie put in place a model of lean staffing with very senior attorneys and the market has taken to it in a big way. She is one of the most popular and admired lawyers out there – “an excellent advocate who is quick on her feet in the courtroom”. “She is never overly aggressive and there aren’t any unnecessary dramas when she’s in charge.” Her recent highlights include a standout win on attorneys’ fees for Zynga, coming off the back of a summary judgment victory over Segan. The matter propelled Sonali Maitra, Durie’s co-counsel, into the limelight; she consequently enters the IAM Patent 1000 for the first time this year. Clement Roberts keeps upping the ante and chalked up numerous victories in 2015. He obtained a highly favourable settlement for JP Morgan Chase in an action filed by Intellectual Ventures. He also partnered with Durie in an 11-patent suit brought by OpenTV in Delaware which – after its transfer to the Northern District of California – saw them win summary judgment of invalidity on Section 101 grounds. “Incredibly smart, articulate and confident, Clem really stands out. It’s never a case of just personality or bluster, though – he really backs it up. Strategic and innovative in his thinking, he steps outside the box to find unique leverage points that help to bring about the best commercial outcomes.” One client relates: “I’ve worked with him in several joint defence settings and situations where there are a variety of common interest parties, and on more than one occasion people have asked me if they could hire him to replace their own counsel.” For Ryan Kent, it has been business as usual defending companies with cutting-edge technologies; the experienced first chair is “the consummate professional” and a “kind, thoughtful, extremely balanced attorney who thinks of all different angles”. Weil seriously lost out when Sonal Mehta transferred here in Summer 2015. Sources label her an “up-and-coming superstar in the Valley”, but they are behind the times – she has already arrived. The firm does not actively look at laterals a great deal, but it could not pass up on Mehta, who adds significantly to its strong core of individuals who can headline must-win disputes. Commentators note that the firm is “great at positioning matters for appeal” and in Mark Lemley it has “one of the finest appellate lawyers in the land”; he is feted as “one of the greatest talents of his generation”. “An incredible legal thinker, visionary and entrepreneur, he has the courage to say what needs to be said and commands a tremendous amount of respect from judges. Having him on board is akin to a promise to certain judges that abuse of judicial discretion will not go forcefully, but respectfully, unchallenged. There is a level of independence in his advocacy that makes him credible.” The task of ensuring that nothing less than stellar goes out the door falls to Ragesh Tangri, a “lawyer’s lawyer” whom peers look to “whenever a client needs extra help or something a little special”.
EIP is the only ensemble of its size with a joint US and European patent prosecution practice and it is capitalising on market changes – particularly concerning patent eligibility – bringing US and European thinking on patent law into closer alignment. The practice is in rude health as companies increasingly seek consistent portfolio development approaches on both sides of the Atlantic. Innovation in terms of service delivery is also drawing in the crowds; its ‘EIP Square’ programme sees US and European attorneys working in harmony to coordinate filings, with efficiency-driven cost savings then passed back to the customer. Longstanding client Metaswitch Networks recently consolidated its entire US patent portfolio with the firm as a result of this initiative. The network software provider is getting the benefit of Nick Transier
’s and Mallary de Merlier
’s sage, internationally informed counsel. “From start to finish, Nick is brilliant. He understands your product and doesn’t need educating, which immediately creates the foundations for a strong relationship. He is proactive and will give you new ideas aimed at creating value around your product – it isn’t a case of ‘Tell me what you want and I’ll get the patent.’ He is always available when you need him and the speed at which he works is really impressive.” Ex-Knobbe partner De Merlier is a font of insight and analysis on developments in the biotechnology and medical device industries.
Fenwick & West LLP
A laser focus on servicing the diverse needs of life sciences and high-technology patrons defines Fenwick & West, a commercial firm that is part of the very fabric of Silicon Valley. It has been there every step of the way as several emerging companies have ascended to the top of the social media, business and technology worlds. Rajiv Patel
, who provides strong leadership to one of the largest patent prosecution groups in California, has acted for Twitter on the development of its patent portfolio since 2007 and provided indispensable strategic advice at every turn. He took the lead when the social media darling acquired a 900-strong patent portfolio from IBM in 2014. “Patel is very insightful and does a good job integrating into the companies he represents – he is pretty much an in-house guy.” Robert Hulse
has been lead outside patent counsel for Facebook since 2008; he knows more about the company’s intangibles than many of its own team. Lately, he has been working on the portfolio of virtual reality platform Oculus VR, which was recently purchased by Facebook in a headline-grabbing $2 billion deal. Peers call him “the oracle of patent law”, while clients laud him as “hands down the most innovative, reliable and smartest patent prosecutor”. Managing partner and former patent group chair John McNelis
also deserves a mention; the versatile veteran knows a great deal about computer software, hardware and business methods, but can step back from patents and demonstrate a deft touch on copyright and trademark matters, too. Jae Won Song
is multitalented in a different way; he can litigate as effectively as he can prosecute. He has a particular faculty for display device technology, although anything electrical falls comfortably within his bailiwick. Extensive knowledge and insight sharing reinforces the close bond between the prosecution and contentious practices; as a result, the trial tactics of ace advocates Michael Sacksteder
and David Hadden
are always informed by an acute understanding of file histories and post-grant implications. Sacksteder skippers the litigation group and is an accomplished operator in front of the PTAB. His cases are always followed intently and his win for Supercell (the name behind the popular Clash of Clans
game) against Everglades Game Technology certainly got people talking; he secured a declaration that Everglades’ patents were invalid under the eligibility rules established by Alice
. Hadden’s impressive securing of summary judgment of non-infringement for start-up Voxer against IPVX Patent Holdings, a patent assertion entity, also garnered notice – particularly when, following dismissal of the case, his client was awarded more than $800,000 in attorneys’ fees. The firm houses a large, highly specialised 25-lawyer transactions group, which can dispatch anything from a standalone patent licence to a billion-dollar acquisition. IAM Patent 1000
newcomer Stephen Gillespie
handled the complex cross-border IP issues relating to Symantec’s $8 billion cash sale of Veritas Technologies; he also represented Concur Technologies on the technology aspects of the company’s $8.3 billion acquisition by SAP America. No matter what the deal size, nothing throws him off his game. Patent licensing maestro Jake Handy
takes the reins on matters involving the most innovative technology around; receiving significant news coverage was the deal with Google that he put together for DexCom, a developer of cloud-connected glucose-monitoring systems for individuals with diabetes. He also recently represented Juno Therapeutics, a leading biopharma company focused on the development of transformative cancer treatments, in its collaboration with genome-editing leader Editas. He can switch gears from the life sciences without missing a beat and, together with California IP hall of famer David Hayes
, represents a top sportswear brand. Agreements orchestrated by Ralph Pais
often come to define industry standards; the former managing partner is also a legal service delivery pioneer and oversees the firm’s unique DMR and FLEX schemes – the former an internal discovery and diligence unit and the latter a SWAT team of in-house lawyers deployable on temporary assignments. Steering the IP ship is consummate all-rounder Lawrence Granatelli
, who effortlessly juggles a daunting regimen of commercialisation, contentious and procurement work. International deal making is one of his callings.
Fish & Richardson PC
“A formidable competitor, Fish is obviously one of the top patent litigation firms – it puts together great trial teams of smart people who play to win. It is aggressive and built for success at trial.” Gold-rated San Diegan Juanita Brooks
is one of the nation’s foremost trial lawyers and a truly formidable advocate, having specialised in criminal defence for more than two decades before stirring up the patent world. Dividing his time between San Diego and Minneapolis is head of life sciences litigation Jonathan Singer
, another dignitary of the patent bar. Sources think the world of this “incredibly knowledgeable strategic thinker”: “If anyone deserves a big ego, it is him, but he is really down to earth. His client-handling skills are the best you will ever see – he is easy to talk to and very empathetic.” He and Brooks joined forces to give Allergan some serious clout in two important Hatch-Waxman cases against Sandoz; wins were the inevitable result. Kathi Vidal
takes her bow in the rankings this year thanks to effusive recommendations from peers. A former leader of the litigation group, which includes nearly 300 lawyers in multiple offices worldwide, she boasts finely honed management skills; she sets cases up well, but also has the trial nous to go the full distance to claim victory. A doughty prosecution unit is another hallmark of this top national boutique. Clients are quick to extol the virtues of Redwood City-based senior principal Hans Troesch
, a miracle worker when it comes to computer technologies: “Hans is wonderful to cooperate with and extremely knowledgeable without being arrogant. He can advise not only on the intricacies of patent filing, but also on broader strategic questions relating to the uses of an IP portfolio. His team is thorough and timely in its work, and is a good choice for anyone seeking top-quality IP counselling.”
Foley & Lardner LLP
Foley & Lardner is one of the few large commercial outfits to maintain a high-level patent prosecution practice. Anchoring the team on the West Coast is Marc Morley
, a life sciences specialist with a proclivity for obtaining patents and managing portfolios in the most commercially savvy way. Although recently retired, Gerald Swiss
is another name to note – many in the biopharmaceutical and medical device industries look up to him as a mentor. As one source claims: “Jerry is the best legal writer that I have ever seen; I enjoy reading his prosecution, because I learn something from it. He truly cares about his clients and the quality of his patents.”
Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP
“Gibson Dunn exhibits top-notch professionalism at all times. It doesn’t handle as much patent litigation as some others, but the work it does is of the highest order.” Its focus on intellectual property is intensifying, making some of the more traditional leaders in the discipline nervous. The arrival of William Rooklidge
in early 2015 was a major fillip for the IP squad; “a very polished presenter with excellent judgement”, he fits in nicely on a team also featuring Wayne Barsky
and Josh Krevitt
. Barsky wins ringing endorsements from his contemporaries: “Extremely smart, creative and sophisticated, he finds the best solutions for his clients. He has great gravitas and presence.” Krevitt could conduct a trial blindfolded, so familiar is he with the inside of the courtroom; industry leaders breathe a sigh of relief when he is brought on board to handle their case.
Goodwin Procter LLP
Venture-backed companies and titans of industry alike flock to Goodwin Procter for its flawless supervision of innovative, transformational deals in the technology and life sciences sectors. Karen Spindler
is a comforting guide for many biotechnology and pharmaceutical concerns. She is there every step of the way, contributing to the seed idea behind a company’s formation, helping it to get funding, handling its financing efforts and large collaborations, and then its exit – and she remains close at hand for the executive team’s next project. “She drafts complex IP provisions with great care and creativity. In negotiations, she isn’t just a scribe – she contributes vital suggestions on strategy that help your collaborations to get structured in a way that furthers your aims (while protecting your intellectual property).” She recently acted for Blueprint Medicines, one of the biotechnology world’s most promising start-ups, in connection with its collaboration with Alexion Pharmaceuticals to advance kinase drug candidates in rare genetic diseases. The firm’s national patent litigation practice has been dramatically fortified in the past two years with key hires on both coasts. Shane Brun and Brett Schuman are names for interested parties to note.
Greenberg Traurig LLP
Greenberg Traurig is held in high esteem for its practical, commercially attuned approach to patent litigation. It has a distinct talent for getting rid of disputes quickly and painlessly; its lawyers get creative in order to secure favourable outcomes – whatever the client’s budget – and its commitment to efficiency means that cases are never overstaffed. Los Angeles resident Jeff Joyner
once had his own shop and quickly learned to think on his feet; he is a do-it-all guy who deftly fulfils a quasi-in-house counsel role for patrons. Technically versatile, he acts for companies in all sectors, although clean technology has become something of a specialty. Rick Taché
manages the Orange County office and shares responsibility for leading the global patent litigation group. Samsung has kept him busy lately in a dispute with Mobile Telecommunications Technologies, better known as MTEL. Harvard grad Nicholas Brown
cut his teeth at Weil before moving here six years ago. The entrepreneurial atmosphere of the firm has suited the business-minded advocate well.
Hickman Palermo Becker Bingham LLP
Compact, single-office San Jose boutique Hickman Palermo Becker Bingham has a reputation for excellence that spreads far and wide. International sources are full of praise: “The firm is plugged into the software world like no other – it is highly specialised and you can’t fault its technical ability.” Key contacts at this dedicated computer technology outfit include name partners Christopher Palermo
and Brian Hickman
. Palermo is “razor sharp” and embedded at the very heart of the Silicon Valley tech scene. “Hickman has incredibly high standards and does quality prosecution work.” His tours on the lecture circuit have helped to cement his unimpeachable reputation.
Companies requiring a close business partner find what they need at HIPLegal, a unique, all-woman Cupertino set with a golden touch on portfolio development and IP transactions. Clients receive holistic advice that astutely blends the different perspectives of the three partners. Judith Szepesi
directs her considerable strategic nous to the protection of patrons’ bottom line – she is all about creating value. She matches her shrewd commercial thinking with technical acuity in computer software, hardware and telecommunications. Julie Stephenson
’s broad engineering, in-house legal and high-level management experience gives her a singular understanding of the many issues that clients grapple with daily. She applies an eagle eye when examining patent portfolios and knows precisely what action to take when weaknesses – and strengths – are identified. Annie Rogaski
leverages a litigation background in her strategic counselling and patent evaluation practice. A true champion of women in Silicon Valley, she has generously imparted her extensive leadership knowledge to many in the community.
Irell & Manella LLP
Irell is quietly building an impressive record in USPTO contested proceedings. In May 2015 it hired former PTAB chief administrative judge Michael Fleming
in response to market changes following passage of the America Invents Act; clients now have at their disposal one of the most qualified practitioners in the world when it comes to post-grant affairs. Under the direction of managing partner Andrei Iancu
, Irell also flawlessly handles district court, appellate and ITC patent litigation. A relentless commitment to quality characterises all of the special operatives here. The best known is Morgan Chu
, a “fabulous lawyer who is attuned to everything going on in the courtroom”. “He is very dynamic and bubbly, and always has interesting and fun things to say. He can weave narratives that have people believing.” Gary Frischling
, who has partnered with Chu for years, has “exceptional experience and knowledge”. “His demeanour in the courtroom is very impressive – he is so calm under pressure. He really digs into the technical aspects, as well.” The pair pulled out all the stops during a two-week jury trial to get the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation – the non-profit tech transfer arm of the University of Wisconsin-Madison – a $234.2 million patent infringement verdict against Apple. Jason Sheasby
shouldered much of the load on this; the rising star is, by all accounts, off-the-charts smart. The future looks bright for this dynamic set, which has plenty of next-generation leaders on staff. Ellisen Shelton Turner
is another young gun on the ascendant; free-thinking and original, he excels at contentious strategy, but is also an accomplished presenter. Benjamin Hattenbach
is yet to enter the prime of his career, but his stats already make him a league trailblazer. One peer observes: “He is always on the shortlist for difficult cases. A very tough advocate, he is nevertheless someone you can work with across the aisle.” Following a string of 2014 victories in several venues, he recently put to bed a long-running licensing dispute between Amkor Technologies and his client Tessera. As busy as it is on the high-technology front, the firm is also pushing boundaries in the life sciences. David Gindler
is a force for good in the industry: “He is a creative thinker and there is a premium on that in the biotechnology space. It’s not always the arguments you think will win that end up mattering the most – there is often a curveball and David deals well with that.” Next to representing major corporations, he works assiduously for top-flight academic and research institutions; he can effortlessly interface with the most brilliant scientists. His recent instructions have taken him into the largely uncharted territory of biosimilars, an important topic on which he is fast becoming a thought leader.
Reflecting a rare degree of versatility, Jones Day has individuals listed on each of the California tables. Thomas Briggs
is one of only seven to make the top tier for patent transactions and he leads – together with Boston’s Warren Nachlis – one of the best, most dedicated patent and technology commercialisation operations in the business. “Tom has a really broad base of experience and his approach to deal making is holistic. He’s a big-picture guy.” Dale Rieger
’s technical compass also points north to the life sciences, although he specialises in the development of patent portfolios. A former Harvard postdoctoral fellow, he has an atomic-level knowledge of organic chemistry. The West Coast is an important locus of Jones Day’s IP operation and San Diego is home to the chair of its global practice, Anthony Insogna
. The seasoned litigator is a repository of trust for leading biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies and leverages the firm’s international heft to get results on both sides of the Atlantic. Greg Lanier
calls the shots in Silicon Valley, where he has spent his entire professional life. He’s not blinkered, though, having led trials in district courts across the nation and coordinated numerous cross-border cases. He recently won a complete defence verdict for SOLiD and Reach Holdings in a dispute with major competitor Corning Optical Communications.
Kasowitz Benson Torres & Friedman LLP
Given its incredibly deep foundation in general commercial litigation, Kasowitz’s recent success in the patent space should come as no surprise. It triumphs on both sides of the docket and can handle matters pertaining to any strain of complex technology, making it a remarkably nimble operator. Jonathan Waldrop
has been putting up big numbers for Google of late; he secured a per curiam
affirmance from the Federal Circuit on behalf of the internet giant in a patent infringement action brought by software developer MasterObjects, and obtained a quick summary judgment on non-infringement in a suit launched by SuperSpeed Software (which was represented by feared trial shop Susman Godfrey). Born-and-bred litigator Steven Carlson
brings much to the table, including a profound knowledge of patents in Germany and patent case management – he has written popular books on both subjects. He is a good choice for highly nuanced disputes and is currently representing Czech entity Coda Development in a trade secret misappropriation, false inventorship and fraud case against Goodyear. The Silicon Valley managing partner teaches at UC Berkeley School of Law on the subject of PTAB proceedings, so he keeps a close watch on all that is happening on the post-grant front, too.
Kaye Scholer LLP
Kaye Scholer makes its sophomore appearance in the IAM Patent 1000
California rankings this year. It has gained considerable traction in Silicon Valley as a result of astute hires, although the ingrained trial skills of its lead lawyers have also contributed significantly to its success. Like all those engaged in IP litigation, the firm has its share of defence instructions against non-practising entities (NPEs) – on which it “provides the right focus and budget” – but it especially shines when competitors clash swords over mission-critical technology in vanguard fields of scientific research. Gold-rated Michael Malecek
would easily find a spot on the platinum tier if there were one. “He’s a top-flight litigator who possesses the full gamut of patent knowledge, as you would expect. However, his magic lies in his attention to big-picture issues and business implications. He excels at creating excellent trial teams, and at giving real responsibility and experience to junior and mid-level associates exactly when they are ready for it. As a result, his lawyers have experience beyond their years, which works favourably in terms of costs and outcomes. As a former assistant US attorney for the Eastern and Northern Districts of California, he thrives in a courtroom; he has been in-house, too, and is equally comfortable in a boardroom.” To give you some idea of his technical range, he recently successfully represented Google in a high-technology case, while also representing Sequenom in the biotechnology area. Deborah Fishman
has added much to Kaye Scholer’s nationally reputed, high-flying life sciences practice. She is representing Miotox, which has developed a migraine treatment using botulinum toxin injections, against Botox manufacturer Allergan.
Keker & Van Nest LLP
Handling big-ticket patent spats with millions and even billions at stake is all in a day’s work for out-of-this-world contentious specialist Keker & Van Nest. Its assured trial lawyers all have a knack for distilling down the essence of a dispute and then presenting a compelling narrative around it in the courtroom. Robert Van Nest
does this at the highest level; sources call him “an excellent trial lawyer who can translate the most complex concepts into understandable language which appeals to a jury”. Facing off against Matthew Powers and his crew over at Tensegrity, he recently settled a multi-patent, high-stakes case for Google against Skyhook Wireless; only a small fraction of the amount in the expert damages report ended up changing hands. Squaring off against Round Rock Research and its specialist plaintiff-side firm Farnan, he also served as lead trial counsel for SanDisk in a big-bucks matter involving 15 patents asserted in two Delaware litigations and 12 asserted in the Northern District of California. Solid teamwork is always on display here; Van Nest regularly partners with colleagues such as Ashok Ramani
and Asim Bhansali
to lay down uncrossable lines. Ramani certainly impressed his peers when he scored a “stunning, phenomenal victory” for Netflix against Rovi in a brawl over interactive TV programme guide technology. “Bhansali is so smart and someone you can trust with your life.” He lately served on the frontlines for LinkedIn in its tussle with Bascom Research, in which he got a rare grant to stay discovery before obtaining a summary judgment win. The number of future leader-calibre young lawyers on the books here is striking. Alongside Ramani and Bhansali, Matthias Kamber
is coming on strong; he litigates with commercial considerations at the forefront of his thinking, which endears him to the likes of Google and Netflix – both of which he has recently stepped up for big time. The firm has two new entrants in the IAM Patent 1000
for 2016 – David Silbert
and Christa Anderson
. “Silbert is someone you can be happy to use on your most serious cases. He’s smart, practical and strategic – among the best there is.” “Anderson is very much what the modern litigator has to be – she’s an excellent writer, great on her feet and very persuasive. She also makes light of very technically dense material.” It would be remiss not to mention founding partner John Keker
; although not IP focused, his name is always mentioned in conversations about the nation’s leading trial lawyers.
Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP
Kilpatrick Townsend has secured the spoils in PTAB trials left, right and centre of late, although this has not detracted from its exemplary district court practice, in which winning is also a routine affair. Steven Moore
, who recently assumed the role of patent litigation co-leader, is behind many of the group’s headline victories. He has argued in front of juries at a healthy clip in the past two years and, with patent cases rarely going the distance, he is beginning to stand out for his trial experience. Patent prosecution is the firm’s strongest IP suit. San Diegan Stephen Reiter
has a chemistry PhD in his back pocket. An inventor himself, he has also held in-house corporate counsel positions; these credentials resonate strongly with companies looking for a lawyer who can effortlessly interface with both technical experts and the C-Suite. San Diego managing partner William Shaffer
concentrates on prosecution and counselling, but also assists on contentious mandates – he can both build up and tear down patents with consummate precision. His plentiful re-examination experience gives him a strong foundation on which to tackle post-America Invents Act contested proceedings at the patent office.
“If you see the papers and performance of lawyers at Kirkland, you know instantly that they just ‘get’ patent litigation. The firm is really aggressive and looks to get matters resolved to the benefit of clients, but it behaves in a civil manner in situations where there is a huge amount at stake.” Doyens on the West Coast include Adam Alper
and Luke Dauchot
. “Adam is excellent – he doesn’t miss a single detail. When a large patent case really gets going, there are millions of pages of documents and dozens of issues to take into account; he is a master of all the moving pieces and manages to keep a constantly updated compendium of a case in his head.” He criss-crosses between high-technology and life sciences briefs with ease; internet protocols, semiconductors, recombinant DNA – you name it, he has seen and done it. Recently, he suited up for Intel in an action against Future Link Systems. He keeps close tabs on the minutest details and, as attested by the numerous client service awards in his trophy case, this commitment to quality wins much acclaim among patrons.
Knobbe Martens Olson & Bear LLP
Knobbe Martens is one of the biggest – and best – IP boutiques in the United States. As testament to both its size and quality, it has the largest number of individuals ranked in the IAM Patent 1000
California chapter. It covers all conceivable technical disciplines in its ample prosecution practice, which is rated top in the state. San Diego is the epicentre of its best-in-breed life sciences operation. Local managing partner Ned Israelsen
“has many years of experience and is extremely quick and smart”; he leads by example, producing five-star work for both start-ups and established enterprises in the biotechnology, pharmaceutical and medical device sectors. He and Kimberly Miller
helm a large team, including key cog Joseph Mallon
, who deftly handles patent procurement and licensing for Alios BioPharma; the crew’s indispensable advice has enabled the company to quickly advance drug candidates for the treatment of viral diseases. Long-time San Diego resident Daniel Hart
is deeply embedded in the local biotech and pharma scene. Joseph Reisman
prosecutes and litigates with equal aplomb, which helps him to secure comprehensive, long-term protection for clients’ intangible assets. The firm’s San Francisco and Irvine bureaux also house significant life sciences talent. Like Reisman, Eli Loots
traverses the contentious/non-contentious divide with finesse. The post-grant team member is a go-to guide for biotechnologists seeking tactical inter partes
review advice. It is rare to find a former research scientist with Mark Benedict
’s commercial flair for portfolio development. The Orange County man has been working up a tantalising suite of patents for practising physician Dr Bruce May, which has pharmaceutical companies knocking on the door with licensing on their minds. Shepherding high-technology matters to a successful close are John Carson
, Ronald Schoenbaum
, and John King
. Those looking to European and Asian markets would do well to call on the cosmopolitan Carson. Peers envy his “fantastic client base”, which is diverse to say the least; healthcare, software, telecommunications, flat panel display and battery companies are all represented. “Carson knows all the latest case law and how it affects patent practice”, and clients are treated to up-to-the-minute advice. Information and medical device technology is the preserve of Schoenbaum, a versatile performer with enviable procurement, infringement and licensing know-how; the former IBM engineer has been a partner here for nearly 20 years. King is up to the task across a similar spread of IP disciplines; the prosecution committee chair has a particularly deft touch nurturing early-stage companies. On the contentious front, “Knobbe Martens continues to be strong, appearing in lots of important cases. As a boutique, it has a lower cost structure than many and offers good value to clients.” Joseph Re
, the set’s best-known litigator, has been on a rocket ride to the top in recent years. His $466 million jury trial victory for Masimo against Philips in 2014 was a major highlight – he shored it up with a bench trial win in 2015 on Philips’ inequitable conduct defence. John Gurka
and Karen Vogel Weil
shouldered significant loads on the matter, too. IAM Patent 1000
debutant Weil’s expertise on the hot-button subject of patent damages is a major draw. Litigation chair John Sganga
’s meticulous eye for detail came in handy on a recent competitor-on-competitor suit for speciality tool company JS Products; hundredths of a millimetre between wrench dimensions made the difference in this case and Sganga pulled out an affirmance of summary judgment of invalidity for his client. Worldly wise advocate Irfan Lateef
has appeared in courtrooms across the country – including the ITC – over many types of technology, acting for both plaintiffs and defendants. The registered patent attorney is steeped in prosecution, so he never fails to play a strong technical game. Brent Babcock
is “one of the few interference experts who managed to catch the next wave of review proceedings after the America Invents Act”; he captains the post-grant ship and is rapidly racking up experience points, having participated in more than 60 inter partes
and covered business method reviews. The elastic firm can also point to its esteemed transactions unit as a distinguishing mark that sets it apart from the pack. Salima Merani
and Adeel Akhtar
broker blockbuster deals in the life sciences and high-technology spaces respectively, and both garner excellent reviews for their work. “You never see Salima making a mistake – she truly is at the top of her game. For reasonable fees, you get a great strategic adviser with a proven track record of success and innovation. She always makes time for her clients and is incredibly diligent.” She has the IAM Patent 1000
seal of approval for prosecution as well, with peers lauding her as “a technically excellent patent drafter”. “Adeel is extremely smart, efficient and careful, and demonstrates perfect judgement in everything he does. He also excels at directing junior attorneys, which is good to see.” His hawk eye was a boon to Tessera Technologies recently, when it needed an analysis of thousands of patent claims to complete its acquisition of Ziptronix with confidence. Arthur Rose
is one of the top licensing specialists in the line-up. His enforcement and procurement experience has endowed him with enhanced negotiation skills.
Latham & Watkins LLP
“Latham has been attracting some of the best-of-the-best lawyers and hired well, with an eye towards the future.” Its patent litigation practice is cooking on gas right now, with commentators acknowledging that “it has found the recipe for success”. Douglas Lumish
is “obviously a star” who “tries an amazing number of cases”. “He is a really great strategist and a people person who understands his clients’ business. He is great at expressing himself clearly in court and knows how to simplify difficult concepts.” “Top drawer” and “an excellent, all-round attorney”, Ron Shulman
also occupies a place in the gold tier. With his engineering, in-house and private practice experience, Rick Frenkel
is a technically proficient and commercially minded litigator. “He is one of those guys who just knows the facts of his cases. He’s really genuine, too, and when he tells you something, you know he means it. He has a sensible head on his shoulders and is good at leading groups.” Jeffrey Homrig
adds to the bench depth in Silicon Valley. The author of several works on patent case management, he knows how to make matters proceed smoothly. The firm has a strong presence up and down the California coast. Julie Holloway
, a force in San Francisco, possesses a prescient mind when it comes to developments in information technology. Los Angeles-based former Irell partner Bob Steinberg
is “a terrific thinker on global patent strategy”; he is an engine of success in PTAB proceedings. Orange County captain Dean Dunlavey
is yet another first-chair trial lawyer who clients can turn to in times of need; IP and technology transactions are further fortes. The names of Judith Hasko
and John Wehrli
are stamped on many of the biggest-ticket, most innovative deals in the life sciences sector. Anthony Klein
orchestrates cutting-edge high-technology deals; he was a key pivot for Avago Technologies in connection with its recent $37 billion acquisition by Broadcom – the largest ever in the semiconductor industry.
Mayer Brown LLP
Mayer Brown makes its inaugural appearance in the IAM Patent 1000
California listings this year. The firm strengthened its local – and global – practice with the hire of David Wang
from Winston & Strawn at the start of 2016. Wang is a benchmark attorney for Asian enterprises litigating patents in the United States and a respected trial lawyer with a win-filled résumé. Clients report being “pleased with the breadth and depth of Mayer Brown’s team”, which includes Palo Alto bigwigs Michael Molano
and Edward Johnson.
Molano recently scored a significant victory for Marvell Semiconductor in an indemnification action brought by Emulex Corporation that played out in a gruelling three-week jury trial. Johnson has finely honed trial expertise as a result of his exposure to complex commercial, IP and antitrust cases. “He is the consummate IP professional. His strategic skills when looking at the battle landscape are exceptional, and he brings creativity and out-of-the-box thinking to the table.”
McDermott Will & Emery
Forward-thinking legal analysis underpins the compelling arguments of McDermott Will & Emery’s patent litigators, who can carry the day in any forum and any technical area. Throughout 2015, it continued to net superlative results for longstanding clients such as Panasonic. Daniel Foster
is currently representing the Japanese multinational in the Eastern District of Texas against Voxathon. The Orange County partner in charge has tons of experience leading trial teams in IP matters and other areas, including unfair competition and business torts; he has encountered every possible courtroom scenario, so you can’t pull the wool over his eyes. His broad expertise on patent damages is highly appreciated at a time when the analysis of such issues is rapidly changing. Competitor-on-competitor suits are a specialty of the group. Life sciences star William Gaede
used innovative tactics to defeat a Federal Circuit appeal by Myriad Genetics on behalf of Ambry Genetics, having got the best out of a double Nobel laureate expert testifier in order to pull out the win. The set knows how to deal with NPEs, too. Silicon Valley office head David Henry Dolkas
is currently acting for Biomet in a dispute with Acacia, which is moving aggressively to make gains in the medical device sector. McDermott Will & Emery is one of a rare breed of full-service commercial outfits offering top-notch transactional and prosecution capabilities, in addition to litigation. Mark Itri
has kept up his sterling work for the likes of Google and Broadcom; both companies innovate at a fast pace, but he has no problem keeping up. As well as consolidating relationships with existing clients, he has brought in significant new business; the Ilitch family has come to him for advice on the IP aspects of a major Detroit regeneration project. Judy Mohr
is another key contact on the procurement and monetisation sides. The biology and chemistry doyenne is always in demand: “She is actually a scientist, not just an attorney, and she gives clear advice and really guides you through the prosecution process.” Next to its A-to-Z patent offering, the firm’s international heft is an additional selling point. “McDermott Will & Emery is very well connected globally and can help you to pursue patents outside the United States. Its US lawyers work seamlessly with their affiliates outside the country.”
Morrison & Foerster LLP
Morrison & Foerster has three individuals ranked in gold for patent litigation in California in the IAM Patent 1000
2016 – a feat matched by only one other firm. “It is at the top of the food chain and will continue to be hired for big cases. It can put 100 really solid lawyers at a client’s beck and call.” Sources are quick to highlight Harold McElhinny
and Rachel Krevans
: “With those two guys in the lead, the group is smart and creative.” “In the courtroom, Harold has a good sense of what to say and when to say it, and has a great presence.” Of Krevans, sources simply say: “She is really good in Texas.” She has dominated the smartphone space in recent years, but has blazed a trail in many different technology areas – whatever is hot at the moment, the top trial lawyer is bound to be involved. “Brilliant advocate” Michael Jacobs
completes the golden trio. “He is a strong utility player who does lots of IP stuff at the highest levels.” He has a billion-dollar jury verdict from the smartphone wars to his name and many vanguard biotechnology wins on his résumé, too. Recommended as “a real team player”, Matthew Kreeger
debuts in the guide this year. The litigation partner co-captains the post-grant group – his interference and patent dispute know-how makes him well suited to the task. A similar depth of talent can be seen in the transactional area. Here, again, the firm stands out in the IAM Patent 1000
listings, with the joint highest number of recommended individuals. Co-chair of the global technology transactions group is Tessa Schwartz
; as a result of her strategic perspicacity – which she constantly employs in serving clients – she was appointed managing partner in January 2016. Fellow San Franciscans Rufus Pichler
and William Schwartz
are other masters of the deal-making arts. Mika Mayer
is a touchstone IP due diligence lawyer for life sciences companies and their investors. She uses her thoroughly commercial outlook to great effect in her prosecution practice, which is also in rude health. Patent head Michael Ward
has a similar practice mix. He is the market’s top connoisseur when it comes to plant patents and related agricultural matters. Life sciences are a major stronghold for the non-contentious wing. Alongside Mayer and Ward, Catherine Polizzi
and luminaries Kate Murashige
and Thomas Ciotti
are highly respected. All go beyond bread-and-butter prosecution to serve up farsighted strategic advice on the development of portfolios.
Silicon Valley has a new player in town – Nicholson De Vos Webster & Elliott. The prosecution, portfolio management and post-grant focused shop was established by several experienced partners in March 2015, and has quickly made its name as a thoroughly modern service provider. The firm enjoys great synergy with start-ups and its adoption of cloud computing infrastructures is particularly resonant among those just starting out in life. The set has no problem serving mid-sized and very large companies conducting business in the IT sphere, too. Founding partner Daniel De Vos
“makes sure to personally connect with examiners, which usually results in a quicker allowance of the patent”. His collaborative approach is also appreciated: “The drafting process they put in place is very interactive and Dan will help to crystallise your ideas and invoke a process of thought that actually improves them from a technical perspective. Things work their way through the patent office in a straightforward manner, without too many office actions.” He and fellow founder David Nicholson
are superb contentious support options, in addition to being top prosecutors.
O’Melveny & Myers LLP
Class act O’Melveny & Myers earns a promotion to the silver tier this year. Its patent litigators are not mere technology dabblers – they have rigorous scientific training and all the trial skills you could want. The group has plenty of recent work highlights to shout about: “formidable adversary” George Riley
secured a permanent injunction for Mentor Graphics in 2015, following a nine-day jury trial against EVE-USA and Synopsys the previous year. Riley is “an excellent trial lawyer who can really tell a story”. Mark Samuels
cemented another jury trial success for Top Victory Electronics against Hitachi by winning post-trial motions in the difficult Eastern District of Texas, as well as a later appeal. The firm is doing a tremendous job building a team for the next decade. Ryan Yagura
is not yet in his prime – a scary thought for opposing counsel, given how brilliant he already is. “Ryan interfaces extremely well with high-level technical folks and can dig into the detail while getting to the heart of a matter. He is gaining more and more trial experience and becoming the complete package.” David Almeling
is another up-and-coming star. “He is one of the most organised attorneys you will ever see and is always supremely well prepared for depositions and appearances in court. He is fantastic at keeping you abreast of what is happening in your matters and he gets great results.” Patent litigation is the clear focus, but there are also dedicated IP transactions experts for those looking to shake hands on important deals; Heather Meeker
is one of the best of these.
Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP
Orrick is recommended for its superb representation in critical international disputes. It emphatically showed what it can do in a hard-fought, bet-the-company fight against Good Technology, in which it represented MobileIron. Having brilliantly narrowed the case on the way there, it secured a great result after a lengthy jury trial; the client was found not to have infringed any of Good Technology’s patents (two of which were found invalid). Neel Chatterjee
was the man in charge of this one. “A jury trial is about the music, not the notes, and Neel understands that. He is great at framing a compelling story and presenting the evidence in a way that the jury can understand. He is among the best trial lawyers there is.” Nagendra Setty
made major contributions to the firm’s Federal Circuit win for VeriFone in its dispute with CardSoft over payment terminal technology. As testament to its specialist appellate expertise, the group was hired specifically for the appeal and it did not disappoint; the Federal Circuit reversed the district court decision in favour of CardSoft and granted VeriFone judgment as a matter of law. The partners’ spectacular performances are bolstered by top-notch associates. One client recounts: “In the jury trial, two associates actually took witnesses – we were fine with it, because they were that good.” Billing practices are a further praise point: “The firm puts good fee caps and financial arrangements in place.”
Perkins Coie LLP
Perkins Coie has one of the largest patent practices in the United States, which encompasses all aspects of protection, enforcement and monetisation – a fact that sets it apart from the vast majority of full-service players. It is a particularly prolific performer in district court patent actions across the country and also possesses finely honed ITC skills. Los Angeleno Michael Wise
is one of its top West Coast litigators. He co-chairs the life sciences group while also acting as regional managing partner for China, but takes it all in stride and never pays anything less than full attention to his clients. He gets great reviews, too: “He is a wonderful communicator who really relates well to clients and judges. He deserves greater recognition – he is incredibly knowledgeable and his efficiency means you get more bang for your buck than with other attorneys. He knows how to get things done in the patent office.” John Schnurer
co-leads the ITC practice, but has an excellent victory rate across multiple forums. Among his many Asian clients is Goodix Technology, which specialises in human-computer interaction technologies; he is currently representing the Chinese outfit in a Section 337 matter against major competitor Synaptics. The firm’s post-grant unit is in fine fettle, which makes its overall contentious offering that much more irresistible. The “razor-sharp and knowledgeable” Bing Ai
is one of the busiest guys in the country when it comes to PTAB trials; he is a discerning prep and pros operator who has long provided patent litigation support, so is extremely well suited to the task. The firm’s work in this area has strengthened the already close ties between its contentious and prosecution groups. The latter has a new name in the IAM Patent 1000
this year in Viola Kung
, whom foreign associates deem “a genuine top expert in the biotechnology field”. The procurement needs of high-technology enterprises are well served by Palo Alto partners Jordan Becker
and Michael Glenn
. The licensing and transactions practice got a shot in the arm at the end of 2015 when former Intel associate general counsel Dana Hayter
joined as partner. He knows the business of semiconductors like the back of his hand and has virtually unmatched deal-making expertise in the sector.
Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan LLP
Quinn Emanuel’s brand as a trial firm is one of the strongest in the world. It remains a go-to for the largest cases, because of the many “aggressive, smart and experienced” litigators it can send into battle. Its deep bench is one thing, but its creativity and clever narrative-weaving skills also help it to stand out from the crowd. Charlie Verhoeven
is perhaps the ensemble’s top California lawyer. He picks up plenty of recommendations and is unanimously deemed “a top-notch guy and a fine trial lawyer” who is “especially good at cross-examinations”. He recently obtained a stunning result for Dow Chemical, which he represented as a complainant against Organik Kimya in an ITC investigation related to opaque emulsion polymers; the ITC issued a 25-year exclusion order and affirmed nearly $2 million in monetary penalties. Claude Stern
co-chairs the national IP litigation group, which has become the largest section within the firm and includes some of the top trial talents coming up in the game. Among these is Michael Powell
, who makes his inaugural appearance in the listings this year. “What is special about Mike is that he was an entrepreneur coming out of law school – he has a really strong business sense. He has a creative as well as a commercial side and comes up with excellent analyses.” Sean Pak
’s star is in rapid ascendance thanks to major victories, such as his $283 million jury verdict for satellite designer and developer ViaSat in a dispute with a contractor. Quinn Emanuel has several women in leadership positions: Victoria Maroulis
manages the Silicon Valley office and has been instrumental in creating a more well-rounded offering as co-head of the life sciences practice, while also fostering a cross-disciplinary approach to client problem solving. Jennifer Kash
oversees the San Francisco outpost and is a touchstone lawyer for several marquee technology companies, such as Qualcomm and Symantec. The firm’s representation of Samsung – particularly in its battles with Apple – raised its profile significantly, and Kevin Johnson
has been key to the development and success of the relationship. Marvell Semiconductor and Sony are just two of the other companies loving his mix of technical background, perfected presentation skills and trial experience. No list of Quinn Emanuel lawyers would be complete without mention of John Quinn
, one of the world’s most formidable contentious forces.
There are a wide array of tools in the shed of Ropes & Gray, an international commercial outfit that can litigate patents in any forum, as well as build and monetise portfolios. Keeping it in the headlines recently has been its successful representation of flash memory leader Spansion, which has been embroiled in a hard-fought series of spats with its key global competitor Macronix International. This dizzying case spans multiple ITC, district court and patent office proceedings, but lead lawyer Andrew Thomases
has kept a cool head throughout. His arrival in late 2013 gave the firm added West Coast prestige and it has done a great job capitalising on this to gain ground on top-tier California natives. “Andrew is a former Federal Circuit clerk who knows the law cold.” Sources highlight his ITC nous: “He knows the practice just about as good as anyone in the country. It makes him special – most lawyers are experienced only in district courts.” Ropes is the talk of the town when it comes to PTAB proceedings and trial lawyer James Batchelder
has a growing docket of inter partes
and covered business method reviews. His strategic vision is useful not only for his clients, but also for his own organisation; he was recently promoted to the firm’s highest policy committee, having previously done a stint as Silicon Valley and San Francisco managing partner. Those interested in doing deals should look to James DeGraw
, an IT security and data whizz with broad technology transactions experience. He is a fan favourite of private equity players such as Altamont Capital Partners, which he recently represented in connection with a deal to provide capital in support of Douglas Products’ purchase of various Dow Chemical subsidiaries and businesses.
Schwegman Lundberg & Woessner PA
“Schwegman continues to do exceptional work in the service of significant clients. The partners, particularly Andre Marais
and Garth Vivier
, set a tone of excellence for the group. They have all the attributes you need in order to be good patent attorneys and counsellors, including a firm foundation in technology, excellent legal abilities, great communication skills and thoroughly up-to-date knowledge of patent law. In addition, they are very innovative in the way they approach their practice and take associate training very seriously.” It isn’t just about these two San Jose computer and electronic technology wizards, however; the firm has a stacked roster of attorneys in its Silicon Valley, Minneapolis and Austin offices, and is adept in myriad technologies. It ably handles a large volume of applications in a timely manner while keeping the quality consistently high, but it can also scale down when creating artisanal cornerstone patents. By funnelling a good chunk of its earnings into software development, it offers an enhanced level of customer service.
Shay Glenn LLP
Companies innovate in order to enhance their business objectives and compact Silicon Valley outfit Shay Glenn takes that to heart. The firm supports early-stage companies and their stakeholders in many potent ways throughout the course of developing attractive and rewarding portfolios. Medical device companies maintain a hotline to James Shay
, who has been an industry insider for much of his career and is a font of legal and commercial wisdom. Fellow strategic ace and noted neuroscientist Rick Shoop
is another proficient handler of medical technologies; he is fluent in electronic technologies, too.
Sidley Austin LLP
Sidley Austin runs one of the most sophisticated technology and IP transactional practices in the country. Leadership responsibilities for this are jointly held by New York’s Jennifer Coplan, Chicago-based Jeffrey Rothstein and Palo Alto man Glenn Nash
; complex, globally relevant deals are bread and butter for the trio and all three win IAM Patent 1000
laurels – Nash for the first time this year. Representing eBay in connection with its spin-off of PayPal is one of his many recent highlights. In intellectual property, the Chicago-headquartered set is best known for its heavyweight patent litigation capabilities. The 2015 arrival of Michael Bettinger
was a momentous occasion for the West Coast group. His hire puts more resources in the hands of the firm’s many Bay Area technology clients – and his enviable success rate gives them increased confidence. He joins a team that includes gold-rated Patricia Thayer
, a doyenne of US life sciences patent disputes, and born winner Vernon Winters
. “Complete package” Thayer is “passionate about her clients and their cases, and amazingly thorough. She forms close partnerships with clients and has significant trial experience.” She is currently representing Gilead Sciences, Hoffmann-La Roche and Genentech in Hatch-Waxman Act litigation against Natco concerning an influenza treatment. Winters has made a name for himself in the insurance industry of late, having safely dispatched a case brought against his client by a major patent assertion entity. Winters has more jury trial seasoning than 99% of other patent litigators. When cases proceed to the Federal Circuit or even to the Supreme Court, Sidley clients sleep easy at night; the firm runs a pre-eminent appellate practice that many – including the names above – contribute amply to.
Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom LLP
Skadden’s reputation as a corporate firm is peerless, so it is no wonder that it handles technology transactions with true finesse. A steady anchor on cross-continental deals, James Brelsford
is one of the biggest names in licensing. The former SanDisk man dined on a steady flow of intensely strategic deals – large and small – during the IAM Patent 1000
2016 review period: among other things, he represented Lattice Semiconductor on the IP aspects of its $600 million acquisition of Silicon Image and concluded several deals for EMCORE, including the $150 million sale of its space photovoltaics business to private equity house Veritas Capital. Skadden can really bring down the hammer in high-stakes patent disputes; its cream-of-the-crop advocates proffer the most incisive strategies, backed by full-time graphics experts and jury consultants. With more than 300 litigators on hand, it can gear up for big trials at a moment’s notice – one of the reasons why BlackBerry instructed it to take over several cases as certain recent trials approached. James Elacqua
was the man they sought out. He enjoys convivial relations with many blue-chip clients, including Medtronic – which he is representing in a two-patent case in Delaware – and Google. Patrons appreciate his “great presence in front of a jury – he is calm, professional and relatable”. His ability to “absorb and apply facts quickly” is also much admired. David Hansen
is the other California name to note. He is SanDisk’s man for mission critical cases, such as its patent and antitrust spat with Ritz Camera & Image.
Steptoe & Johnson LLP
Steptoe & Johnson’s California operations feature a particularly vibrant Korea practice that is going full throttle; as well as meeting the fierce quality demands of the Asian nation’s technology enterprises in terms of legal proficiency and commerciality, the group has the desired language capabilities and cultural understanding. The IAM Patent 1000
debut of Seong Hwan Kim
is largely down to the success of this line of business; his sharpened trial skills, impressive match stats and ebullient client reviews also help to tip the balance. “He is extremely efficient and resolves matters quickly, but always with an eye on quality. He provides a very high level of service.” Palo Alto manager William Abrams
has been here for two years now and has done much to raise Steptoe’s profile on the West Coast. The veteran first chair has deepened the firm’s Google relationship and recently handled cases against Skyhook Technologies for the internet giant; together with Seong, he has also bolstered the Asia practice. Customers have a further option in Sanjeet Dutta
, a “practical lawyer who is really easy to work with”. Commentators stress his post-grant nous, calling him “a real pro so far as PTAB trials are concerned”. Although recent departures have thinned its California prosecution and transactional bench, the firm is still a respectable option for those who want to procure and commercialise patents, as well as litigate them.
Sullivan & Cromwell’s technology and corporate transactional expertise is the stuff of industry legend. Palo Alto deal-brokering guru Nader Mousavi
is unanimously deemed by top tech brands as “one of the smartest, most thoughtful and knowledgeable outside counsels” and “a true patent transactions expert”. “Perhaps the most impressive thing about Nader is his creativity. You might have a highly sophisticated in-house team, but Nader will bring additional value to the table.” “He demonstrates a broad understanding of the law, exercises impeccable judgement and is always alert to litigation and commercial realities. He is a talented draftsman and highly skilled at developing negotiation positions.” On his desk at the moment is the Alcatel-Lucent/Nokia merger, in which he is representing Alcatel-Lucent, and Valeant Pharmaceuticals’ acquisition of Salix Pharmaceuticals, in which he is on Valeant’s side. Deal values with nine-plus zeroes never faze him.
Tensegrity Law Group LLP
Due to its financial model, Tensegrity is incredibly results oriented. This mind-set, coupled with its top-flight trial skills, makes it the destination of choice for litigants in need of a win. Firm creator Matthew Powers
is “head and shoulders above others” and “especially compelling at trial”. His fellow founders Steven Cherensky
, “an excellent lawyer who deserves all the credit he gets”, and Paul Ehrlich
also fly high. The formidability of the team they have built around them forces opponents to think twice and facilitates the swift resolution of disputes with highly favourable settlements; Skyhook Wireless and Intellectual Ventures have found this out recently, enjoying success against Google and Canon, respectively.
Van Pelt Yi & James LLP
Silicon Valley companies large and small love having Van Pelt, Yi & James on their doorstep. The compact firm is famed for its strict quality orientation and provision of Savile Row-tailored strategic advice. Clients keep “brilliant attorney” Lee Van Pelt
on speed dial. “To get your head around many technologies, you need to have an in-depth understanding of maths, as Lee has – he gobbles that intense, maths-centric stuff up and is truly interested in it.” Peers note that he “is great to trade practice tips with”. In addition to prosecuting patents and general problem solving, he prepares the most insightful patent opinions and infringement analyses. Diana Fu
does similar work and also has superb credentials; she received bachelor’s and master’s degrees in electrical engineering from Stanford University and subsequently worked for local telecommunications and networking companies before joining the firm.
Weil can handle the most important matters for A-list clients through trial in any forum. The set enjoyed a very strong year in 2016, securing complete victories for Micron Technology and T-Mobile in separate suits in the District of Delaware and for Adobe in a California case. Jared Bobrow
, the representative for Micron and T-Mobile, co-chairs the patent litigation practice alongside DC-based Brian Ferguson. “Nobody has a better analytical mind than Jared. His written product is top notch, as is his oral advocacy. He might not be as flashy as some of the more famous trial lawyers – if he’s in Texas, he’s not going to put on cowboy boots and adopt a certain voice – but he is someone that juries find highly credible.” Edward Reines
, who held it down for Adobe, is “an aggressive advocate and worthy adversary”. “He simply gets good results and that is why he gets hired for big cases.” Sources also note that “he is very strong on appellate matters”. During the past 12 months, the group has grown its PTAB practice considerably; the firm might not have prosecution capabilities, but its litigators have the technical chops to more than hold their own in inter partes
reviews and other post-grant proceedings. Patent and technology transactional work is another calling card. Californians John Brockland
and Karen Ballack
take the lead on major acquisitions and other deals day in, day out. Brockland handled several acquisitions for both eBay and Synopsys recently; Ballack has done the same for Yahoo!. The two Silicon Valley partners often join together with New Yorkers such as Jeffrey Osterman, who is highly ranked in the IAM Patent 1000
. Ballack and Osterman advised GLOBALFOUNDRIES in its acquisition of IBM’s global commercial semiconductor business – a transaction which gave GLOBALFOUNDRIES 16,000-plus additional patents.
White & Case LLP
The total volume of patent litigation in the US market may have gone down slightly, but White & Case – a one-stop shop for global patent disputes – has seen its share increase. Its rich seam of expertise representing financial institutions continues to set it apart from competitors. JP Morgan knocked on its door when facing with a tough multi-district spat with Maxim Integrated regarding secure data transmission technology critical to the conduct of smooth online banking transactions. Bijal Vakil
played well with his DC colleague Shamita Etienne-Cummings on this one. The two are also acting for TPK Touch Solutions in a major battle against rival Wintek, which is represented by top boutique Finnegan. The firm is very comfortable taking the lead on post-grant proceedings and Jeannine Yoo Sano
has picked up effusive recommendations for her inter partes
review work: “She is very bright, very quick and really gets the technology.” When it comes to district court actions – her bread and butter – she has a “great courtroom presence”. Warren Heit
is another experienced trial lawyer with a cosmopolitan client base. The former Raytheon electrical engineer has a USPTO registration number and is as technically adept as any deep-in-the-weeds prosecutor.
Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP
If there was a knock against WilmerHale, it concerned the rather limited extent of its IP resources on the West Coast. However, it has solidified its California patent litigation offering in recent years, helping its national practice to become even more potent. In 2013 Jason Kipnis
came on board, bringing IP versatility and strong counselling capabilities; in 2014 Song Zhu
was welcomed into the fold, instantly enhancing the set’s proficiency on IP disputes in China and US disputes involving Chinese entities and elements; in 2015 came the addition of medical doctor James Hill
, who joined from McDermott Will & Emery to bolster the life sciences offering. IP litigation co-chair Mark Selwyn
still runs the show and does a bang-up job of it, too – he is “incredibly talented and works extremely hard”. “He is someone who will prepare and prepare and prepare for trial – he knows the facts of his cases inside and out.” He can litigate any kind of patent for any kind of client, although he enjoys the patronage of a particular concentration of Silicon Valley technology companies.
Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, PC
Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati is a primo technology and life sciences outfit that astutely advises companies on every aspect of their commercial development. Litigation and transactions are twin fortes in the patent area; the ensemble has three highly ranked individuals for both in the IAM Patent 1000
2016. The contentious squad comprises “incredible team players who are a joy to work with”. “The group that Stefani Shanberg
has put together is great at representing really neat Davids going up against Goliaths. Stefani believes in her clients and is extremely tough, with a backbone of steel; she will do whatever it takes to get the best result. She is great behind the scenes, setting up the stage and road-mapping strategy, but she is an excellent presenter and excellent with witnesses, as well.” Others chime in: “She knows the law better than just about anybody and is a phenomenal litigator for high-end cases.” Also tiered in silver is Edward Poplawski
, “a great first chair who is very effective in highly charged adversarial scenarios”. Standard-essential patents guru Michael Levin
rounds out the litigation trio. When it comes to negotiating deals, “you have to respect the aggression and knowledge of the Wilson Sonsini lawyers”. In particular, “the team has figured out how best to serve the needs of emerging companies in the Valley”, although with its substantial corporate practice, it confidently represents enterprises of all stripes. Corporate partner Kenneth Clark
is a member of the biotechnology cognoscenti and a darling of the C-suite. Those in the high-technology milieu look to Michael Murphy
and Selwyn Goldberg
. Murphy has spent his academic and professional life in the Bay Area and knows the commercial environment there like the back of his hand – he received his science and law degrees from Stanford and also worked for Hewlett-Packard in Cupertino as an R&D engineer. Goldberg is an ace on computer technology, telecommunications and electronics. He has been here for over two decades and was previously with Weil and Cravath, both of which also maintain outstanding transactional practices. Goldberg and medical device master James Heslin
sit on the firm’s policy committee. Heslin is a font of licensing wisdom and an expert at portfolio evaluation and due diligence, as well as prosecution.
With more than 180 attorneys handling infringement disputes, Winston & Strawn boasts impressively muscular contentious capabilities. It has worked hard to build up its California practice and has enjoyed particular success in doing so since opening in Silicon Valley nearly three years ago. There have been some departures recently – Gail Standish was appointed as a US magistrate judge for the Central District of California, while Sunny Cherian and Peter Perkowski both left to set up their own shops – but IP co-chair and Silicon Valley managing partner David Enzminger
has otherwise kept the ship on a steady course. Enzminger and Michael Tomasulo
have recently been putting in the hours for three major video game software companies sued by an NPE. While cases of this type are dealt with expeditiously, the group shines brightest when competitors are facing off over cornerstone technologies. David Bloch
is finalising his major victory for Cox Communications against Sprint, which went to war over 21 patents relating to Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology.