United States: Georgia


Alston & Bird LLP
Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP
Ballard Spahr LLP
Meunier Carlin & Curfman
Morris Manning & Martin LLP
Troutman Sanders LLP
Dentons US LLP
Eversheds Sutherland (US) LLP
Hill, Kertscher & Wharton, LLP
Paul Hastings LLP
Smith Gambrell & Russell LLP
Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice LLP
Alston & Bird LLP
The dedicated patent practitioners at Alston & Bird are committed to understanding clients’ technologies and business objectives; they realise that success is not about one-off victories in court or inter partes reviews, but rather about gradually bringing long-term plans to fruition. Their customer-centric ethos proves popular with US companies as diverse as MiMedx and ATM manufacturer Diebold; several parallel matters are being handled for both. With its eyes firmly trained on the Asian markets, it opened an office in Beijing in late 2015 to better serve patrons in the region. Having adroitly coordinated multinational litigation across the world, Patrick Flinn is the first port of call for many; Taiwanese computer hardware giant ASUS recently turned to him for assistance in a series of patent infringement suits brought by Avago Technologies General IP (Singapore). “He has been in the IP scene for a long time and is really respected,” reports one respondent. “He is a competitor and we often fight, but I would never hesitate to refer work to him because I know that he would handle it extremely well.” The enforcement wing of the practice also features the much-acclaimed Keith Broyles and Frank Smith. Broyles has extensive experience before district courts across the country, not to mention the International Trade Commission and the International Chamber of Commerce. The seasoned Smith supplements his hard-hitting patent practice with notable antitrust knowledge. For licensing and portfolio monetisation, companies make a beeline to the business-minded David Teske, who has carved out a real niche in cloud-based services. Prosecution instructions are sewn up by Jason Cooper – who not only files with finesse, but is also an “excellent team organiser” – and IAM Patent 1000 debutant Chris Lightner, a “very active” senior associate making waves in the market. “Lightner really gets involved in the nitty gritty of his clients’ inventions and provides swift, comprehensive and helpful counsel.”
Ballard Spahr LLP
Clients of Ballard Spahr enjoy the holistic counsel and resources of a full-service firm married with the hands-on, personal approach of a boutique. Its 30-plus patent squad features PhD-level patent attorneys with insight across the technical spectrum. Prosecution and portfolio management are particular strengths in its A-to-Z offering. The University of Nevada, Las Vegas is just one eminent client which appreciates its versatility: the firm assists it with everything from patent filings to freedom to operate analysis, technology transfers and even on-campus seminars to help staff. These initiatives are all stewarded by Scott Marty, who leads the biotechnology practice and is also proficient in chemistry and pharmaceuticals. He possesses rare tactical nous and is always on top of the latest case law. Marty works under the wing of IP chair Mitchell Katz, an inspiring leader and another adroit strategist. Having worked for EI du Pont de Nemours and The Dow Chemical Company, Katz brings vital in-house experience to the table. Robust enforcement is provided by Lawrence Nodine; a force to be reckoned with in the courtroom, he won’t hesitate to pursue alternative dispute resolution where this is in the client’s best interests.
Dentons US LLP
A headline-grabbing merger in November 2015 with Chinese juggernaut Dacheng made Dentons the world’s largest firm by lawyer headcount. It has also resulted in a surge of instructions from Chinese entities, which has been keeping the Atlanta contingent predictably busy of late. The firm has an impressive range of technologies on lockdown: roughly half of its patent activities relate to pharmaceuticals, while its computer software and encryption practices are also thriving. Litigation is its lifeblood; aware how expensive enforcement can be, the team takes special care to meet clients’ cost expectations, while exceeding them when it comes to quality. The pragmatic, commercially minded William Long stays in constant communication with clients and helps them to navigate potential minefields so that not all hitches end up in the courtroom.
Eversheds Sutherland (US) LLP
Even before its much-publicised 2017 transatlantic merger with Eversheds, Sutherland was feted as “exceptionally strong in patent prosecution”. It now has a whole new international dimension to its practice; eight offices have become 61. Patrons of the Atlanta-based contingent are already used to a proactive, creative service; this looks only set to improve, with its expanded network placing scores of new tech whizzes at their disposal. Telecommunications don Griff Griffin can speak the language of innovators with valuable high-technology assets.

Businesses seeking a one-stop IP shop need look no further than Finnegan. A titan of the patent scene, it files around 3,000 US and 1,500 foreign patent applications annually and routinely brings the heat in US courtrooms. Managing partner of the Atlanta office Virginia Carron leads from the front: she has lately been representing Nestlé in inter partes reviews and counselling it on design patents. She frequently trades ideas and insights with the “extremely talented” Jason Stach, who pilots the Patent Trial and Appeal Board trial practice and has acted in more than 80 inter partes reviews. An organisational architect like Carron, Roger Taylor helmed the Tokyo office; he is a worldly-wise professional who exemplifies the firm’s cosmopolitan ethos.

Hill, Kertscher & Wharton, LLP
Hill, Kertscher & Wharton’s formidable patent enforcement team has expanded significantly over the past two years, and is now some nine practitioners strong. It has a pristine track record representing companies of all stripes on both sides of the 'v': household names are quick to seek it out when they find themselves embroiled in must-win disputes, although start-ups would be equally well advised to knock on its doors, given the flexible alternative fee arrangements on offer and stringent cost management pursued in regard to inter partes reviews. Founding partner Steven Hill has successfully handled over 125 patent cases in federal proceedings throughout the country, but will always search for outside-the-box resolutions to otherwise costly skirmishes. Like Hill, John North has spent over 20 years on his feet in the courtroom and is adept across a range of technologies, from software to biochemistry and pharmaceuticals. Representing American Megatrends, Micro-Star International and Gigabyte Technology, the pair recently secured the invalidation of several key patents belonging to Kinglite Holdings in a heated, high-profile battle that made plenty of headlines.
Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP
“Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton has one of the biggest IP practices and excellent lawyers who do things the right way.” With more than 50 PhDs and nearly 100 other attorneys and scientific staff with master’s degrees on board, there is an abundance of technical know-how on hand. Always au courant with the latest twists and turns in clients’ industries, these practitioners know how to steer new inventions safely past any obstacles to market. Dean Russell and Tina McKeon are two leading strategists based in the Atlanta office. Having previously helped to develop computer simulations for the US military’s PATRIOT missile system, Russell is no stranger to software at the cutting edge. For over a decade now, McKeon has been teaching on the TI:GER programme, a collaboration between Emory Law and the Georgia Institute of Technology; the experience has sharpened her instinct for commercialisation and facility for communication – traits prized by her clients. Chair of the firm’s litigation practice Wab Kadaba is a patent lodestone: “His knowledge of the law, analytical thinking and representation are all top notch. He does a lot of post-grant proceedings and is excellent organisationally too.” He is ably supported on the contentious side by James Ewing and Mitchell Stockwell. Ewing’s pioneering spirit and enthusiasm make him a fabulous partner for high-tech start-ups, while Stockwell hits the bullseye time and again with his persuasive arguments. Thanks to unparalleled local insight, King & Spalding’s IP practice continues to rule the roost in its birthplace of Atlanta. The firm’s patent and trademark practices are seamlessly integrated: its specialists use each other as sounding boards and cooperate closely together on joined-up strategy. While there may be ostensibly cheaper options out there, clients keep returning thanks to the superior calibre of their service, their willingness to help any hour of the day or night and their unique business sense. On the contentious front, the team has recently been representing multinational chemicals manufacturer BASF in both inter partes review proceedings before the USPTO and bruising litigation before the District Court for the Northern District of New York.Captaining the firm’s national practice, Holmes Hawkins has played an instrumental role for the chemicals leader; he has chalked up extensive first-chair trial experience on behalf of some of the world’s biggest companies. Scott Petty and Rebecca Kaufman are dazzling strategists who can prosecute with precision and exploit portfolios to the max. Electrical engineering mandates are in safe hands with technical sage Petty, while Kaufman brings rare commercial acuity to the table, having previously been a principal at the venture capital fund Cordova Ventures; working for the Georgia Institute of Technology’s Advanced Technology Development Centre, she also gained significant experience counselling start-ups which stands her in good stead today.

Lee & Hayes has developed a comprehensive, cost-effective offering that resonates with fledgling enterprises and Fortune 500s alike. The firm’s core IP team draws on useful ancillary expertise from the wider firm to help innovators navigate thorny regulatory landscapes, while a hard-hitting contentious squad leads the charge in court. With up-to-date industry knowledge considered a prerequisite for success, there is also a dedicated market intelligence team. William Dyer has more than 20 years’ experience to his name and it certainly shows. “He embodies everything you would want in an advocate. Not only is he super smart with the technology, he is also really practical and good at communicating to clients the technical and legal issues that will be involved in a case. His foresight is amazing too: he sees things unfolding long before anyone else. Plus he’s always truly involved in all the cases – not someone who only looks in at service level.” The firm recently added Bruce Bower to the roster; the former Finnegan patent attorney is a versatile operator with a resolutely commercial outlook and substantial experience before the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.

Meunier Carlin & Curfman
Razor-sharp technical knowledge, lightning-fast response times and fee flexibility are all hallmarks of the service at streamlined boutique Meunier Carlin & Curfman. All scientific fields are capably covered, from pharmaceuticals to medical devices and electrical engineering. A formidable trial lawyer who has fought the good fight for over half a century, Anthony Askew has seen nearly everything there is to see. Having masterminded over 100 IP cases and taught patent law for 12 years at the University of Georgia, Stephen Schaetzel isn’t wet behind the ears either; high-stakes suits are meat and drink to him. Nascent biomedical and medical device companies would be well advised to pick up the phone and call Miles Hall, who knows how to build up a portfolio and get patent acquisitions over the line.
Morris Manning & Martin LLP
Never one to rest on its laurels, Morris Manning & Martin has made it its mission to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to customer service; it forges close, long-lasting relationships with clients, gets to know the inner workings of their industries and continually revamps its service to better fit their needs. When an exciting but risky proposal is tabled, the IP team can draft in members from its commercial departments for 360-degree analysis. While the monetisation of rights is a notable forte, courtroom battles are also ably taken care of. “Fantastic litigator” John Fry brings a novel perspective to litigation and has unique knowledge of unmanned aircraft systems.
Paul Hastings LLP
One for all and all for one, is the modus operandi at the team and client-oriented Paul Hastings. A customised approach to each brief ensures that the professionals who are best qualified to assist will be drafted in, regardless of position or location. It has also developed a rock-solid payment systems practice; with Atlanta now a booming fintech hub, it is ideally placed to help start-ups gain a foothold in this space. Life sciences has been another happy hunting ground of late. The breadth of talent in its ranks translates into a soup-to-nuts service, taking in everything from filing to transactions and enforcement. On the contentious front, its lawyers outdistance those of its general practice firm rivals when it comes to filing suit for plaintiffs, but they are also staunch advocates of defendants. Joe Benz is a reliable port of call.
Smith Gambrell & Russell LLP
With three new European offices opening in January 2017 – in London, Southampton and Munich – Smith Gambrell & Russell has built an impressive platform to support its inbound international clients, a significant number of which hail from Germany. Its much-respected Atlanta patent practitioners dovetail neatly with their colleagues elsewhere, pooling resources and know-how to provide a service that is more than the sum of its parts. Spearheading the firm-wide IP practice, Gregory Kirsch is as comfortable wielding a pen on prosecution briefs as he is a sword in the courtroom. Dale Lischer is an artful drafter with an eye on commercially rich strategies; he is a favourite among companies in the electrical and mechanical sectors.
Troutman Sanders LLP
The forward-thinking patent team at Troutman Sanders has all the tools required to exploit and safeguard clients’ rights; the full-service firm’s corporate credentials come into their own on licensing mandates, while its potent antitrust and IT practices ensure that advice is never less than wide angled. The commercially astute Ryan Schneider works diligently and proactively until he has found the optimum way to advance his clients’ interests. When courtroom battles loom, Douglas Salyers springs into action: he has spent plenty of time before the Federal Circuit and can distil complex concepts with consummate ease.
Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice LLP
Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice arrived on the Atlanta scene in 1993. The business law firm’s IP professionals provide, timely, solutions-oriented counsel that ticks all the right boxes; listening attentively and maintaining close contact every step of the way, they ensure that innovators large and small never feel alone in the rain. When devising strategies, mechanical engineering sage Louis Isaf hones in on the technical minutiae without losing sight of the bigger commercial picture. For post-issuance proceedings before the USPTO, James Vaughan is the main man. Having handled more than 50 patent suits in his time, William Ragland is a battle-hardened litigator who knows what it takes to secure results.

Individuals: prosecution

Nigamnarayan Acharya - Baker Donelson Bearman Caldwell & Berkowitz PC
Jason P Cooper - Alston & Bird LLP
Griff Griffin - Eversheds Sutherland (US) LLP
Miles Hall - Meunier Carlin & Curfman
Scott A Horstemeyer - Thomas Horstemeyer LLP
Louis T Isaf - Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice LLP
Mitchell A Katz - Ballard Spahr LLP
Rebecca Kaufman - King & Spalding
Gregory J Kirsch - Smith Gambrell & Russell LLP
Sherry M Knowles - Knowles IP Strategies LLC
Jeffrey R Kuester - Taylor English Duma LLP
Chris Lightner - Alston & Bird LLP
Dale Lischer - Smith Gambrell & Russell LLP
Scott D Marty - Ballard Spahr LLP
Daniel McClure - McClure Qualey & Rodack LLP
Tina McKeon - Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP
Cynthia Parks - Parks IP Law LLC
W Scott Petty - King & Spalding
Dean W Russell - Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP
Ryan A Schneider - Troutman Sanders LLP
Tim Tingkang Xia - Locke Lord LLP

Individuals: litigation and transactions

Anthony Askew - Meunier Carlin & Curfman
Virginia L Carron - Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner, LLP
Patrick Flinn - Alston & Bird LLP
Holmes J Hawkins III - King & Spalding
Wab Kadaba - Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP
Keith Broyles - Alston & Bird LLP
James L Ewing - Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP
John P Fry - Morris Manning & Martin LLP
Gregory J Kirsch - Smith Gambrell & Russell LLP
Jeffrey R Kuester - Taylor English Duma LLP
Lawrence K Nodine - Ballard Spahr LLP
John L North - Hill, Kertscher & Wharton, LLP
Steven L Park - DLA Piper LLP
Katrina M Quicker - BakerHostetler LLP
William M Ragland Jr - Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice LLP
Frank Smith - Alston & Bird LLP
Mitchell G Stockwell - Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP
Roger Taylor - Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner, LLP
R Bruce Bower - Lee & Hayes, PLLC
William Dyer III - Lee & Hayes, PLLC
Christopher Green - Fish & Richardson PC
Steven G Hill - Hill, Kertscher & Wharton, LLP
L Norwood Jameson - Duane Morris LLP
William F Long - Dentons US LLP
Douglas D Salyers - Troutman Sanders LLP
Stephen M Schaetzel - Meunier Carlin & Curfman
Jason E Stach - Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner, LLP
David S Teske - Alston & Bird LLP
Jeffery Toney - Kasowitz Benson Torres & Friedman LLP
James F Vaughan - Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice LLP

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Issue 89