United States: Georgia

Firms

Alston & Bird LLP

A microcosm of the nationwide practice, Alston & Bird’s Atlanta office covers all the bases in patents, fielding a high-calibre team of procurement, portfolio management, licensing and contentious specialists. Spotlighting the litigation practice, commentators acknowledge a “deep bench of trial lawyers who are at the very top of the professional order”. First among equals are Keith Broyles – a versatile lawyer who solves problems with dexterity across a dizzying range of technical fields – and Patrick Flinn, a seasoned trial team leader with abundant ITC and appellate experience. “Alston & Bird’s lawyers handle tough facts well and are persuasive advocates who make good arguments while being respectful to the court.” Also in this mould are adroit trade secret and patent litigator Shane Nichols and Robert Lee, who has a talent for organising joint defence groups and getting everyone pulling in the same direction to thwart non-practising entities. Notable recent work for the set include representing Honeywell and Nokia in Section 337 investigations at the ITC, in which Flinn is playing a key role; and a significant summary judgment win – architected by Nichols – for The Coca-Cola Company, in which liability for $24 million in damages was avoided. Turning to the prosecution and portfolios practice, co-chair of the firmwide IP group Jason Cooper is hailed for his strategic nous and proficiency in contentious administrative proceedings. He and Chris Lightner are masters of mechanics and provide commercially astute, value-added guidance to medical device and manufacturing companies; Lightner is also distinguished by his generous community service contributions. Captain of the technology and privacy group David Teske is an authority on technology transfer and patent and software licensing. He has had a lot of deals on his desk recently, but has signed, sealed and delivered them all in style; the spin-off of Autoliv’s electronics segment as a new independent public company and Inmar’s acquisition of the Kroger Company’s You Technology subsidiary are just two notable examples.

BakerHostetler

BakerHostetler is a force to be reckoned with in intellectual property: it has more than 170 specialised lawyers – many with engineering or in-house counsel experience at top companies – and acquits itself with distinction across all facets of patent practice. In Georgia, Katrina Quicker litigates with poise while perspicaciously counselling behind the scenes. She has recently been busy representing Saudi Basic Industries Corporation – one of the world’s leading manufacturers of chemicals, fertilisers, plastics and metals – on global prosecution and multiple PTAB matters; and managing and commercialising the Johns Hopkins University’s diagnostic and medical device portfolio, while litigating for the institution, too. With Christopher Arena setting the tone, the Atlanta line-up dispenses commercially on-point IP advice. Former chief patent counsel Arena is business minded to the last, which shines through clearly in his work – for example, on behalf of American Water, for which he has established a business model and IP programme designed to capitalise IP investments.

Ballard Spahr LLP

The depth of technical expertise within Ballard Spahr’s 50-strong IP group is impressive – all disciplines and industries are accounted for by experts in patent procurement, competitive landscape analysis, licensing, litigation and everything in between. Worthy of special mention is its life sciences capability, which brings the Atlanta crew of Scott Marty, Mitchell Katz and Brian Meadows into the discussion. Marty, who helms the biotechnology team, is an accomplished domestic and international prosecutor and gifted educator who makes patent law seem simple for innovators. Katz is a senior member of the chemical and pharmaceutical section and, though no longer a leader by title, remains a guiding light for colleagues and clients when it comes to prosecution, counselling, opinion giving and administrative proceedings. As patent group chief and a member of the chemical, pharmaceutical and mechanical teams, Meadows can easily adapt to the needs of diverse clients, from start-ups to multinationals and academic institutions.

Duane Morris LLP

As a high-volume filer, dynamic protector and no-nonsense defender and enforcer of patent rights, Duane Morris has endeared itself to the technology sector in particular. The jewel in its IP crown is the patent litigation team, which always presents resonantly at trial, having mastered both the science and the commercial game plan. Atlanta lawyers Norwood Jameson and Matthew Gaudet attract rave reviews: “Norwood and Matthew are the most responsive, accessible and effective lawyers. They manage cases extremely well and consistently get good results through effective advocacy, excellent client relationship skills and a strong business focus.” Together they have been doing great things for Cisco Systems. Another “gold-star lawyer”, Robin McGrath is “excellent at presenting on her feet and a tenacious lawyer who won’t roll over”. Her recent work has included defending Ford in patent litigation brought by Wildcat Licensing and, alongside Jameson, defending Citrix Systems against accusations of infringement made by Data Scrape – a case which has thrown up complex patent eligibility issues.

Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner, LLP 

For many the premier IP boutique in the country, Finnegan is at the peak of its game. This is particularly true in the post-grant arena, which it is dominating alongside just a handful of competitors. Reston-based Erika Harmon Arner is the brightest star in the ensemble’s post-grant firmament, but Jason Stach and Trenton Ward in Atlanta also make essential contributions to the practice’s success. Stach’s broad litigation and portfolio management experience serves him particularly well in PTAB trials; the number of which he has handled has now headed into the triple digits. As a former lead administrative patent judge at the PTAB, Ward has a unique level of insight into the forum. Finnegan’s post-grant expertise is hugely complementary to its litigation practice, which remains a potent one in a changing market. The top name on the fight card locally is John Livingstone, who is also one of the firm’s best Hatch-Waxman Act litigators. He and Reston’s Charles Lipsey form a tailor-made strike force for prestigious patrons such as AstraZeneca, whose patents over billion-dollar drug FARXIGA they protect. Virginia Carron is also a seasoned lead counsel, though her practice incorporates both patent and trademark cases.

Fish & Richardson

Newly added to the Georgia listings this year, national IP powerhouse Fish & Richardson has a lot going on in the Peach State right now. For example, Tracy Hitt – who debuts in the guide this year – is making waves in the software patent prosecution and e-commerce spaces, invariably on behalf of marquee technology companies. On the litigation front, Thad Kodish and Christopher Green are bringing the heat for clients – including Velcro USA, which they recently successfully defended against claims of patent infringement filed by YKK. Atlanta managing principal Kodish is a repository of trust for industry trendsetters, which appreciate his assured captaincy of trial teams. Green, who divides his time between Atlanta and DC, is cut from the same cloth as a trial advocate. His docket of cases is huge, but he never drops the ball; as examples, alongside the Velcro representation he has also lately served as lead counsel for Avaya in a dispute over videoconferencing patents and acted for Taro Pharmaceuticals against Lupin.

Hill, Kertscher & Wharton, LLP

Deploying compact but highly proficient litigation teams – whose members have a shared understanding of strategy – Hill, Kertscher & Wharton nets trial and PTAB success time and again. Its lean, efficient approach yields not only good outcomes, but also much-welcome cost savings. Recent highlights include representing Blacoh Fluid Controls in an inter partes review initiated by Syrinix: the team prevailed in a motion to amend claims, a win which garnered national coverage due to its rarity on the patent owner side. Instrumental in bringing about this result was founding partner Steven Hill who, in the course of handling over 100 patent cases, has chalked up plenty of meaningful victories, thanks to his trial and tactical nous. Colleague John North has decades of experience, too, and is a must for US trial and international disputes work.

Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP

Whether developing new tools to give in-house counsel better access to their portfolios and analysis they can take to their business, studying and evaluating emerging trends or promoting diversity in the legal profession, Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton never stands still. This drive is also reflected in its prosecution and litigation activities: the team is always looking for ways to maximise the efficiency of its procurement efforts and put to the test clever new litigation strategies to best opponents. From top to bottom, the firm’s 200-strong national division of USPTO-registered attorneys and agents is first rate, making it difficult to single members out for special praise. Three who certainly deserve it, however, are Tina McKeon, Renae Wainwright and Dean Russell, all of whom demonstrate great judgement in the design and development of patent protection and monetisation plans. Neuroscience PhD McKeon has a passion for complex biotechnological innovations; she has filed over 40 patents in the past two years for Compass Therapeutics and advised the company on many other issues besides. Coming from an industrial engineering background, Wainwright excels on mechanical briefs; litigators love to call on her for her strategic input. Russell is a go-to for players in the aerospace, energy and manufacturing industries. The firm’s gold-tier ranking in Georgia is also predicated on its contentious superiority, with firepower supplied by “formidable adversaries and proven litigators” Wab Kadaba and Mitchell Stockwell. Kadaba chairs the IP department, but remains on the frontlines of important cases – which is just as well, given his lead counsel experience and trial dexterity. Stockwell maintains busy litigation and post-grant practices and is ideally positioned to see matters through from start to finish.

King & Spalding LLP

King & Spalding’s robust and recently bolstered IP group has really hit its stride in the past year, giving the firm an elevated profile on the national patent stage. During this period of evolution, the patent team in hometown Atlanta has stayed steady: the leading lawyers featured in the Georgia rankings have all been here for more than a decade – two in most cases. Its solid local core of patent procurement and counselling devotees comprises Robert Neufeld, Rebecca Kaufman and Scott Petty, each of whom brings something different to the party. Neufeld makes light work of patent issues across a rainbow of technical areas and industry sectors. He heads a team of seasoned attorneys addressing the prosecution needs of Chevron. Consummate deal broker Kaufman applies herself with verve to complex life sciences collaborations; she also oversees a team affording a wide-span patent service to The Coca-Cola Company. Like Kaufman, Petty has a knack for helping companies to realise IP value – something he does well with respect to both patents and brands. The Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta is a key client. Although frequently engaged on prosecution and counselling work – for example, acting for Eaton alongside Neufeld – Holmes Hawkins is best known for his litigation prowess. Linking up with Charlotte’s Tim Barber, he is currently representing BASF against competitor Enthone in a multi-layered case across multiple venues.

Lee & Hayes, PC 

Few firms are as synced up with technology companies at a commercial level than Lee & Hayes, whose trademarked tagline is “The Business of IP”. Taking the wider ensemble’s creativity and entrepreneurialism to heart, Atlanta lawyers R Bruce Bower and Bill Dyer skilfully wield IP tools and weapons to positively impact on clients’ bottom lines. Bower is a well-rounded and efficient dispenser of holistic advice that draws on his contentious and non-contentious talents. Complex lawsuits are meat and drink to Dyer, a former Fortune 100 in-house IP counsel with an instinctive ability to pinpoint business risk.

Meunier Carlin & Curfman

The watchword at boutique Meunier Carlin & Curfman is quality – which, in its vocabulary, means an attentive, agile, cost-effective service underpinned by a laser business focus and the consistent cultivation of cutting-edge technical expertise and advocacy skills. When infringement storm clouds loom, comfort can be taken from the heavyweight status of trial lawyers Anthony Askew, John Harbin and Stephen Schaetzel, who anchor the litigation practice; 50-year veteran Askew and 30-year pro Harbin have mastered the art of jury and bench persuasion over dozens of trials. Coming in for praise, Harbin is “steeped in the day-to-day aspects of his cases, but also sees the big picture and knows where a case is likely to turn down the line”. Doctor of veterinary medicine Miles Hall and chemical engineer Andrew Meunier are smart choices for prosecution and portfolio management: Hall works wonders for emerging biomedical and medical device companies, getting them to a satisfying exit point, while Meunier is a popular opinion giver.

Thomas Horstemeyer LLP

“Thomas Horstemeyer has one of the largest groups of prosecution attorneys in the electrical engineering area in the Southeastern United States – it’s really deep and does excellent work for some really impressive clients.” Cited as “the best prosecutor in the local market”, founding partner Scott Horstemeyer has a “super entrepreneurial mind and is very proactive in obtaining patents and harnessing them to long-term monetisation strategies – he knows how to generate revenue for his clients”.

Other recommended experts

Taking care of the portfolio management needs of Eversheds Sutherland’s Fortune 100 clients, alongside a colourful catalogue of growth companies and universities, Griff Griffin is a superb collaborator when protecting computer-implemented innovations and telecommunications technology. Womble Bond Dickinson is well served in the patent area in Georgia by transactions and strategy maven Louis Isaf and astute litigator William Ragland. Greenberg Traurig has expanded its IP operations in Atlanta by recruiting Robert King to the cause. His expertise in computer hardware and software, blockchain and financial technology is a solid base from which to grow. Sherry M Knowles of Knowles Intellectual Property Strategies is all about IP value creation. She is highly sought after for her strategic insight, incisive IP evaluation, freedom to operate opinions and patent policy counsel. “Jeffrey Kuester has an encyclopaedic knowledge of patent law and is exceptionally gifted as a practitioner of it.” He offers “the highest-quality service” in prosecution at Taylor English Duma. A touchstone lawyer for life sciences innovators, Pabst Patent Group’s Patrea Pabst is a commercially minded expert adept at advising across the patent lifecycle. DLA Piper partner Steven Park delivers crisp results in US district court and ITC patent litigation and PTAB proceedings; he maintains a vibrant transactional practice, too. Jeffrey Toney is one of several highly accomplished lead trial lawyers at Kasowitz Benson Torres. A great fit for nuanced cases requiring well-calibrated strategies, he has recently been representing United Promotions and Colombian relative Promotoras Unidas in a matter arising from the misappropriation of patent applications and trade secrets by a former company director, which has involved pursuing claims in various Latin American jurisdictions as well as Bangladesh. Client service award winner Tim Tingkang Xia co-chairs Locke Lord’s international transactions practice. He is the only person to call when negotiating deals and collaborations or otherwise interacting with US governmental agencies, especially for Chinese businesses.

Individuals: litigation

  • Keith Broyles - Alston & Bird LLP
  • Virginia L Carron - Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner, LLP
  • Patrick Flinn - Alston & Bird 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
  • John Livingstone - Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner, LLP
  • Robin L McGrath - Duane Morris LLP
  • Shane Nichols - Alston & Bird LLP
  • John L North - Hill, Kertscher & Wharton, LLP
  • Steven L Park - DLA Piper LLP (US)
  • Katrina M Quicker - BakerHostetler
  • 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 - Kasowitz Benson Torres LLP
  • R Bruce Bower - Lee & Hayes, PC 
  • Bill Dyer - Lee & Hayes, PC 
  • Christopher Green - Fish & Richardson
  • John Harbin - Meunier Carlin & Curfman
  • Thad C Kodish - Fish & Richardson
  • Robert L Lee - Alston & Bird LLP
  • Trenton A Ward - Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner, LLP

Individuals: prosecution

  • Christopher M Arena - BakerHostetler
  • R Bruce Bower - Lee & Hayes, PC 
  • Jason P Cooper - Alston & Bird LLP
  • Griff Griffin - Eversheds Sutherland (US) LLP
  • Miles Hall - Meunier Carlin & Curfman
  • Tracy Hitt - Fish & Richardson
  • Scott A Horstemeyer - Thomas Horstemeyer LLP
  • Louis T Isaf - Womble Bond Dickinson (US) 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
  • 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
  • David S Teske - Alston & Bird LLP
  • Renae Wainwright - Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP
  • Tim Tingkang Xia - Locke Lord LLP

Luminaries

  • Anthony Askew - Meunier Carlin & Curfman