United States: Georgia

Firms

Alston & Bird LLP

With prosecutors and portfolio strategists building strong IP foundations and hard-hitting litigators standing sentinel against infringers, Alston & Bird is the complete package for technology companies. An integrated approach across the contentious/non-contentious divide creates the ideal conditions for one-stop shopping, which high-profile names such as Energizer Brands are all too keen to capitalise on. Facilitating stellar global portfolio management and enforcement outcomes for Energizer are Jason Cooper and Keith Broyles, who respectively anchor the prosecution and litigation practices in Atlanta. Firm-wide IP group co-chair Cooper has an acute understanding of clients’ business, technologies and competition, and puts the right tools to the right use to keep them at the vanguard of the mechanical, manufacturing and medical device industries that are his focus. In taking him into the PTAB, Cooper’s practice dovetails with that of Broyles, who advocates with poise in post-grant, district court and Federal Circuit proceedings. Other notable patrons supported through incisive counselling include the University of Florida and Liberty Mutual – both clients of Dane Baltich, who debuts in the IAM Patent 1000 for 2021. Adept at procuring and commercialising patent assets in high-technology areas such as blockchain and artificial intelligence, Baltich produces “consistently great-quality work”. Like Baltich, Chris Lightner has a facility for prosecution, advisory and transactional briefs; he’s a touchstone lawyer for mechanical patents. For out-and-out licensing and deal matters, however, the best bet is David Teske, who leads the technology and privacy group; he cements partnerships that take their signatories to the next level. Joining Broyles in the litigation table, meanwhile, is Robert Lee: “Bob offers high-quality representation for a very reasonable price. He is commercially savvy, practical and cost conscious, and a great fit for mid-sized cases – he never disappoints and can be recommended without hesitation.”

Baker & Hostetler LLP

BakerHostetler has unique capabilities in the area of patent indemnification recovery and an ace up its sleeve in Lisa Collins, who helms a specialised practice in this area. Collins brings much more beyond this niche, though, as a seasoned litigator, portfolio manager and business adviser; she is also a leader on the diversity and inclusion front within the firm and the wider Atlanta community. Another top local asset is Christopher Arena, a former chief IP counsel who serves as relationship partner for a world-leading telecommunications company; he spearheads major patent prosecution efforts for it, while Collins supervises things on the indemnity side, recently handling indemnity enforcement for 35 patent cases. Between them, they run a sophisticated operation in Georgia – and one which helps to undergird BakerHostetler’s remarkably robust and comprehensive national practice.

Ballard Spahr LLP

Ballard Spahr “staffs patent matters extremely efficiently and its rates are highly competitive”. Its attorneys work well with inventors, but can translate science into layman’s terms, which “helps non-technical folks understand and lose their fear of patents and the patenting process”. The life sciences is a happy hunting ground for the firm, which provides invaluable strategic advice on cutting-edge pharmaceutical platforms, more traditional chemical innovations and everything in between. Staunch leadership comes from chemical and pharmaceutical team chair Brian Shortell, who ensures that “the right mix of experts is matched up with each brief, making interactions with inventors and everything subsequent a straightforward process. Brian himself is proactive, great to discuss strategy with and provides crystal-clear opinions”. Other major contributors on this front include Brian Meadows, a decisive and fast-acting lawyer who captains the patent group; immediate past chair of the IP department and all-round patent caretaker Mitchell Katz; and head of biotechnology Scott Marty, who is intimately familiar with the entire drug development process. Shortell and Meadows form a dynamic pairing on behalf of numerous clients including Plastipak Holdings, whose core chemistry patents in its bottle designs and plastic packaging materials they handle. Shortell also represents the University of Utah Research Foundation as part of a team that supports the institution in patent prosecution, transactional and enforcement actions, other key members of which include Marty and Charley Brown. Electrical, software and business method team chief Brown leans into the life sciences practice as an expert in bioinformatics, an area in which he has research experience; but he gets his hands on a lot of cool high-technology inventions in his broad-ranging prosecution, portfolio management, counselling and opinion work. Wearing the captain’s armband for the litigation group, Richard Miller has an engineering background and a highly developed strategic sense, granting him a technical edge in court and a deep playbook to draw from.

Duane Morris LLP

In patent litigation, Duane Morris is “effective, organised and efficient, and gets excellent results on a consistent basis”. Multinationals such as Cisco Systems know this well: the tech conglomerate has instructed Matthew Gaudet and Norwood (Woody) Jameson on many occasions. Both play vital leadership roles in a high-octane group of trial lawyers with a complete command of the technical and advocacy elements of effective litigation – Gaudet as patent litigation co-chair and Jameson as IP group chair. Besides their Cisco activities, they have a lot else going on: Gaudet, for example, recently scored a win for Palo Alto Networks in a patent infringement case filed by Selective Signals; he stayed the district court case before invalidating all asserted claims of the patent in an inter partes review. Additional firepower in Atlanta is supplied by Robin McGrath, whose characteristic versatility was put on display in recent battles in the energy, internet security and automotive fields. Financial technology is a specialist subject for her, though, and she takes charge of the firm’s dedicated industry group.

Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner, LLP 

A US and global leader in intellectual property, Finnegan has it all sewn up when it comes to patent practice. Prolific in prosecution, it has 225-plus USPTO-registered attorneys who put shoulder to the wheel to procure valuable patents, along with a deep bench of post-grant experts and top-flight litigators. Several of the latter can be found in the boutique’s Atlanta office, including PTAB specialists Jason Stach and Trenton Ward; life sciences trial lawyer John Livingstone; and all-round IP litigator Virginia Carron. Stach is a veteran of well over 100 post-grant trials in which he has directly participated, and many others in which his strategic input has made the difference. A former administrative patent judge, Ward knows the PTAB better than most, which makes him an essential component of just about any trial team. He recently worked alongside lead partner John Livingstone to prevail in a case for Kaken Pharmaceuticals and Bausch Healthcare at the Federal Circuit on appeal from an inter partes review. Carron has won patent and trademark suits in many different forums for prestigious clients such as Nestlé, which she has supported in multiple PTAB actions.

Fish & Richardson

In the state of Georgia, Fish has a stacked line-up of trial lawyers who contribute to one of the country’s mightiest patent litigation practices. The first name on the team sheet is Christopher Green, who gets ringing endorsements from clients: “Chris is extremely sharp in dissecting complex problems and brings tremendous clarity to them. He is an outstanding case and project manager, as well as a brilliant mentor to his colleagues and associates.” Many at Fish are “creative and practical advocates who do great legal work to achieve business objectives” – which certainly holds true for Thad Kodish, with whom Green has recently been collaborating in the defence of patent infringement allegations on behalf of Samsung Electronics. They are joined in the IAM Patent 1000 for 2021 by Noah Graubart and Corrin Drakulich, both of whom play prominent roles at the firm. Gaubart co-founded Fish’s Atlanta office and has also recently had matters on for Samsung Electronic, defending it in a six-patent Eastern District of Texas shootout over digital camera and image processing technologies. Drakulich leads the local litigation group and orchestrates a wide range of patent campaigns, with a focus on medical device and life sciences disputes. She handles multiple cases for Exela Pharma Sciences. Aamir Kazi also debuts in the guide on the say-so of clients, who call him a “knowledgeable, attentive and efficient patent litigator and general counsellor who clearly cares about providing value above billable time”. “Aamir considers all angles to a case without getting lost in the weeds.” A valuable contact point in Atlanta for those requiring prosecution, portfolio management and counselling services is Tracy Hitt, who’s a go-to in the city for anything software related.

Hill, Kertscher & Wharton, LLP 

Hill, Kertscher & Wharton practises dynamically in intellectual property and has an exemplary record of success in patent infringement battles. It deploys a SWAT team captained by Steven G Hill and John L North to carry the day in complex disputes between industry competitors. Cool under pressure, Hill and North are accomplished litigators and compelling advocates, adept at coordinating large matters involving many patents, multiple districts and large numbers of defendants. In early 2020, the firm brought Jerry Liu on board, hiring him for his technical perspicacity and strategic chops. Liu is a named inventor on 20-plus patents with in-house experience who has engaged in all kinds of patent work over the course of his distinguished career.

Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP

Home to 50 PhDs and nearly 100 attorneys and technical staff with master’s degrees, Kilpatrick Townsend is virtually unsurpassed for technical know-how, giving it a huge advantage in prosecution. This is only part of the story, however: many of the folks here have litigated, prosecuted and done many other things with patents, and as a result have cultivated a 30,000-foot view of intellectual property that translates into well-rounded, commercially meaningful advice. The group is also the trusted partner of myriad industry leaders and is thus hands-on with the technologies that are shaping new markets. Making it all click, Atlanta-based Wab Kadaba chairs the IP group and is a good example of the versatility commonly found at the firm: he is a technically trained, USPTO-registered counsellor who also happens to be a crack litigator. Key patrons include adidas, whose patent infringement, diligence and other matters he handles alongside Mitchell Stockwell, another consummate litigator. Both lawyers have also gone out to bat for Novelis against Arconic in a fierce competitor battle involving a treatment process for aluminium parts produced for Ford F-150s, in which Arconic has accused their client of trade secret misappropriation. Also leading on this fact-intensive, sprawling case is Renae Wainwright, a patent protection, enforcement and licensing ace with an industrial engineering background and a penchant for high-level strategic thinking. This is shared by Dean Russell on the electrical engineering side and neuroscience PhD Tina McKeon in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology realm. McKeon has a loyal following of academic institutions and research foundations and, for example, is currently involved in several European oppositions for Emory University.

King & Spalding LLP

Meeting the needs of a high-level client base for which patent and IP assets are pivotal, King & Spalding has a sizeable set of high-calibre specialists who devote the necessary resources to securing optimum results. A number of these are based in Georgia, including Rebecca Kaufman, Robert Neufeld and Scott Petty, who are stars of the counselling practice; and Holmes Hawkins III, one of the ensemble’s most formidable trial lawyers. Kaufman is well known for her representation of The Coca-Cola Company, on whose behalf she leads a team of experienced patent attorneys and agents undertaking domestic and international prosecution, adversarial proceedings, opinion work and strategic counselling. Neufeld fulfils a similar function for Chevron; as does Petty for the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta and Delta Airlines. All three work wonders not just in protecting their clients, but also in advancing their commercial cause. Recent highlights for Hawkins include a Federal Circuit win for the Federal Reserve Banks affirming a PTAB ruling that Bozeman Financial’s patents which were the subject of the dispute were ineligible; in a precedential opinion, the Federal Circuit held that the Federal Reserve Banks are ‘persons’ authorised to petition the PTAB for review of covered business method patents and are therefore, for the purposes of the America Invents Act, separate from the US government, which the Supreme Court has previously ruled is not a person so authorised.

Lee & Hayes, PC 

Lee & Hayes’s intuitive understanding of the business of intellectual property is its USP: it was established with the goal of protecting and leveraging IP rights as commercial assets, and has been tremendously successful in realising monetary gains for companies operating at the cutting edge of technological innovation. R Bruce Bower’s mastery in this regard stems from the dexterity with which he utilises prosecution, transactional and litigation methods to realise clients’ objectives; while Bill Dyer’s derives from his litigation and licensing skill and in-house insight.

McDermott Will & Emery

McDermott Will & Emery established its 13th US office when it opened its doors in Atlanta in May 2020. Among those kick-starting operations was Jeffrey Toney, who arrived with two other IP-focused professionals from Kasowitz. Toney is blending in well at his new firm, given his lengthy track record in patent litigation; he also brings outstanding international arbitration expertise to the table. He serves as lead defence counsel to Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals. In September 2020, McDermott made another strong play in recruiting Shane Nichols from Alston & Bird. Nichols is another seasoned lead trial counsel with multi-industry exposure. He is representing The Coca-Cola Company in a patent infringement suit against Rothschild Connected Devices Innovations, which is seeking $24 million in damages and attorneys’ fees in a case implicating Coca-Cola’s Freestyle touchscreen dispenser.

Meunier Carlin & Curfman

The team at Meunier Carlin brings refined technical nous and worldly wisdom to the practice of patent law: its lawyers and agents are highly trained in diverse scientific and engineering fields, and many bring valuable extra dimensions to the mix, having worked in academic environments and in legal and business positions in-house. Patent litigation is a notable forte for the group, which counts John Harbin, Anthony Askew and Stephen Schaetzel among its leading advocates. Harbin and Askew stand out for the depth of their trial experience, which they have accumulated over the course of 80-plus years between them. Schaetzel argues persuasively and presents resonantly, too, but comes with the bonus of portfolio management expertise. For the best in prosecution and counselling, PhDs Miles Hall and Chris Curfman and founding partner Andrew Meunier are the names to know. All three exhibit an exceptional command of the chemical arts, life sciences and medical technology. Hall is prized for his pitch-perfect representation of emerging companies, many of which he has guided to major exit events; Curfman has original ideas on patent matters that go down well among pioneering companies; and Meunier is skilled in post-grant proceedings.

Pabst Patent Group LLP

Recommended in the IAM Patent 1000 for the first time this year, Pabst Patent Group is a preparation and prosecution boutique that, though compact in size, has an international reputation. According to sources, it “thoroughly understands the needs of start-ups, universities and research institutions” as they innovate in the chemical, pharmaceutical and biotechnology fields. First among equals is Patrea Pabst, a percipient strategy and business counsellor and US and international post-grant proceedings ace. Joining her in the listings this year, biochemistry PhD Robert Hodges is a go-to “when you have a tough problem you just can’t figure out”. Communicating on a one-to-one level with scientists, he shines on the technical aspects of his craft, but is a big-picture thinker who prosecutes patents that can withstand litigation challenges.

Thomas Horstemeyer LLP

An Atlanta outfit rich in technical know-how, Thomas Horstemeyer is proficient in all areas of patent practice, but is especially celebrated for its rights procurement and portfolio management prowess. “Uniquely strong at patent prosecution in the electrical engineering space”, founding partner Scott Horstemeyer is an “exceptionally gifted attorney with a creative mind”. He’s a leading figure on a 20-plus team of partners, all of whom are dedicated to excellence in intellectual property.

Womble Bond Dickinson (US) LLP

Womble Bond Dickinson’s Atlanta team is trusted by global technology innovators, major energy providers, firearms companies and others to supervise patent matters of critical importance. Clients know they are in safe hands with seasoned lawyers such as James Vaughan, Scott Sudderth and William Ragland Jr to turn to. Vaughan chairs the IP department and distinguishes himself as a strategist with profound IP insight informed by decades of high-level patent litigation experience. He directs Womble Bond Dickinson’s handling of all patent prosecution, portfolio management and litigation for Graphic Packaging International, a leading designer and manufacturer of packaging for commercial products; as part of this, he designed and implemented a unique internet-based patent portfolio management tool. Renaissance man Sudderth takes care of Remington Arms Company’s total patent, trademark and other needs, showcasing his sophistication as an IP value creator. Ragland is the top trial lawyer on the roster and, like his colleagues, draws on decades in the game to provide percipient counsel and thorough, well-calibrated representation. He’s a superb relationship partner who coordinates well with other practice groups and gets diverse teams of lawyers all pulling in the same direction.

Other recommended experts

Griff Griffin has a talent for whipping patent portfolios into optimal shape and gives perceptive advice on how to develop and enhance global IP platforms. Eversheds Sutherland is his base of operations. Miller & Martin gained a valuable IP asset in April 2020 in the form of Stephen Kabakoff; the former examiner and Finnegan lawyer is well rounded in the practice, having engaged in high-level prosecution, litigation and licensing during the course of his career. He sees the whole playing field for his high-technology, mechanical and materials clients. Flying the flag of Greenberg Traurig in Georgia, Robert King is an astute patent portfolio manager with a focus on the electrical arts. Having also represented parties in litigation, he takes a forward-thinking approach to procure futureproofed patents. Sherry M Knowles of Knowles Intellectual Property Strategies displays total commitment to her biopharmaceutical followers, which she serves as a counsellor and transactional lawyer. Reflecting her sensitivity to developments in the law and her instinct for the direction in which it is heading, her advice is like gold dust. Jeffrey Kuester heads the patent practice at Taylor English Duma. He has prosecuted patents for more than three decades as part of a varied contentious and non-contentious practice and is a high-impact lawyer whatever comes up. Katrina Quicker takes advantage of comprehensive patent expertise and guides rights holders on global prosecution, patent commercialisation initiatives, post-grant proceedings and litigation. The former BakerHostetler attorney founded Quicker Law in February 2021. Locke Lord’s Tim Tingkang Xia has secured more than 4,000 US patents for his clients and also has a flair for the fine print of international corporate and IP transactions. Vanderbilt University, Northwestern University and AU Optronics, Tencent Technology and MediaTek are among his prominent patrons.

Individuals: litigation

  • Keith Broyles - Alston & Bird LLP
  • Virginia L Carron - Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner, LLP
  • Holmes J Hawkins III - King & Spalding LLP
  • Wab Kadaba - Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP
  • Mitchell G Stockwell - Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP
  • Matthew C Gaudet - Duane Morris LLP
  • Steven G Hill - Hill, Kertscher & Wharton, LLP 
  • L Norwood Jameson - Duane Morris LLP
  • Thad C Kodish - Fish & Richardson
  • John Livingstone - Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner, LLP
  • Richard W Miller - Ballard Spahr LLP
  • Shane Nichols - McDermott Will & Emery
  • John L North - Hill, Kertscher & Wharton, LLP 
  • Katrina M Quicker - Baker & Hostetler LLP
  • William M Ragland Jr - Womble Bond Dickinson (US) LLP
  • Stephen M Schaetzel - Meunier Carlin & Curfman
  • Jason E Stach - Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner, LLP
  • Jeffrey Toney - McDermott Will & Emery
  • James F Vaughan - Womble Bond Dickinson (US) LLP
  • R Bruce Bower - Lee & Hayes, PC 
  • Corrin Drakulich - Fish & Richardson
  • Bill Dyer - Lee & Hayes, PC 
  • Noah Graubart - Fish & Richardson
  • Christopher Green - Fish & Richardson
  • John Harbin - Meunier Carlin & Curfman
  • Stephen Kabakoff - Miller & Martin
  • Robert L Lee - Alston & Bird LLP
  • Robin L McGrath - Duane Morris LLP
  • Renae Wainwright - Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP
  • Trenton A Ward - Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner, LLP

Individuals: prosecution

  • Christopher M Arena - Baker & Hostetler LLP
  • Dane Baltich - Alston & Bird LLP
  • R Bruce Bower - Lee & Hayes, PC 
  • Charley Brown - Ballard Spahr LLP
  • Lisa Collins - Baker & Hostetler LLP
  • Jason P Cooper - Alston & Bird LLP
  • Griff Griffin - Eversheds Sutherland (US) LLP
  • Miles Hall - Meunier Carlin & Curfman
  • Tracy Hitt - Fish & Richardson
  • Robert Hodges - Pabst Patent Group LLP
  • Scott A Horstemeyer - Thomas Horstemeyer LLP
  • Mitchell A Katz - Ballard Spahr LLP
  • Rebecca Kaufman - King & Spalding LLP
  • Robert King - Greenberg Traurig LLP
  • Sherry M Knowles - Knowles IP Strategies LLC 
  • Jeffrey R Kuester - Taylor English Duma LLP
  • Chris Lightner - Alston & Bird LLP
  • Jerry Liu - Hill, Kertscher & Wharton, LLP 
  • Scott D Marty - Ballard Spahr LLP
  • Tina McKeon - Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP
  • Brian Meadows - Ballard Spahr LLP
  • Andrew Meunier - Meunier Carlin & Curfman
  • Robert Neufeld - King & Spalding LLP
  • Patrea Pabst - Pabst Patent Group LLP
  • W Scott Petty - King & Spalding LLP
  • Dean W Russell - Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP
  • Brian D Shortell - Ballard Spahr LLP
  • Scott Sudderth - Womble Bond Dickinson (US) LLP
  • David S Teske - Alston & Bird LLP
  • Renae Wainwright - Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP
  • Tim Tingkang Xia - Locke Lord LLP

Luminaries

  • Anthony Askew - Meunier Carlin & Curfman