United States: Texas

Firms: litigation

Firms: prosecution

  • Baker Botts LLP
  • Blank Rome LLP
  • Bracewell LLP
  • Conley Rose
  • Dentons US LLP
  • Fish & Richardson
  • Haynes and Boone LLP
  • Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP
  • Munck Wilson Mandala LLP
  • Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP
  • Osha Liang LLP
  • Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP
  • Slater & Matsil LLP

Firms: transactions

  • Baker Botts LLP
  • Blank Rome LLP
  • Bracewell LLP
  • Fish & Richardson
  • Haynes and Boone LLP
  • Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP
  • Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP
  • Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP
  • Thompson & Knight LLP
  • Vinson & Elkins LLP

Ahmad Zavitsanos Anaipakos Alavi & Mensing PC 

“AZA is a firm of top-notch patent litigators who excel at trial work – when they get up to handle witnesses and present legal arguments, they have this uncanny ability to convince judge and jury that they are right whatever the circumstances. They are great on the briefing side too, and run cases in an organised, lean and efficient manner.” Amir H Alavi is someone you can match up against any lawyer in the country and be confident of a win. Drawing on a deep reservoir of trial experience he delivers knife-like advocacy timed to perfection. He has trained his associates conscientiously and given them all the right opportunities to take on responsibility and as a result there are no weak links in his trial teams either. Lately he has been making major headway for Liberty Oilfield Services in defending a patent infringement case brought by Sandbox Logistics and Oren Technologies; he took this mandate over from another firm and has been up against big dogs Kirkland & Ellis and Norton Rose Fulbright but has successfully narrowed the scope of the claims against his client by winning claim construction rulings. Demetrios Anaipakos is another “exceptional attorney” at AZA. As one source enthuses: “One of the cases we worked on recently went to trial and Demetrios put in an absolutely stunning performance – he completely dismantled several witnesses on cross-examination. As well as being an accomplished trial lawyer, he is also an extremely smart and gifted strategist; he understands the finest nuances of the law and can see the big picture. I trust his judgement completely.” Recently, Versata Software has been depending on him and Alavi in litigation against Ford.

Baker Botts LLP

“Baker Botts continues to be a leader in patent litigation. It’s a firm you call when you need to send in the army – it has a lot of talented lawyers and mobilises them quickly and effectively.” Testament to the depth of its trial bench in Texas, Baker Botts has more individuals recommended for litigation than any of its competitors in the state. The outfit has enjoyed a lot of exciting recent work too: seasoned litigators Douglas Kubehl, Kurt Pankratz and Barton Showalter teamed up and won two jury trials for Genband US against Metswitch Networks – represented by Quinn Emanuel – which they followed up with a precedent-setting Federal Circuit ruling clarifying the law on the standard for injunctions in a patent case. Deserving of special mention, Showalter serves as firmwide IP chair and garners excellent feedback from the market: “Barton is a fantastic leader with impeccable negotiation skills and legal and business judgement. He is not just a hired gun but a key member of his clients’ extended teams.” Meanwhile, David Weaver won a Federal Circuit appeal on Section 101 grounds for the National Basketball Association, the National Hockey League and Turner Digital in an action brought by Front Row Technologies regarding technology allowing sports events to be live-streamed to mobile devices; the result puts to bed a long-running multi-law suit, multi-patent dispute between the parties. When it comes to appellate work Baker Botts is well placed given the experience of its trial lawyers and the specialised expertise of former Federal Circuit clerk and head of appeals Michael Hawes. The firm’s International Trade Commission (ITC) practice is in fine fettle with DC’s Lisa Kattan taking the lead and important contributions coming from all corners of the firm. For example, Paul Morico has been representing Oxford Nanopore Technologies against Pacific Biosciences; he secured a ruling in favour of his client affirming summary determination of non-infringement. Roger Fulghum and Kevin Meek have put in strong performances at the ITC (and many other forums) for longstanding client Dell. Fulghum leads the IP group in Houston while Meek leads the charge in Austin. Recommended alongside Showalter on each of the IAM Patent 1000 individuals tables, Meek is one of the many versatile patent lawyers that Baker Botts has been so successful in cultivating; engaged in portfolio, transactional and litigation work, IP deputy chair Christa Brown-Sanford is another. She makes her debut in the rankings this year having put in a strong showing for technology leaders, such as Cisco Systems, for whom she has achieved outstanding licensing results.

Blank Rome LLP

At a national level, Blank Rome has a solid standing in all areas of patent practice; this holds true locally in Texas too, as illustrated by the IAM Patent 1000’s inclusion of multiple lawyers from the firm on each of the prosecution, litigation and transactions tables. Recommended for his litigation and licensing dexterity, former Fortune 500 company chief IP counsel Russell Wong impresses as one of the most commercially minded practitioners in the state. Experienced litigator Keith Rutherford also has ample in-house experience on his résumé; he understands the risk tolerances of his clients and aligns with them by focusing on the bottom line. As a litigator who has served as a mediator and expert witness, David Cabello sees all sides to an argument and is a percipient strategist as a result. Keith Lutsch is the go-to guru when it comes to complex licensing matters and industry standards.

Bracewell LLP

For everything concerning patents and technology, Bracewell plays the trusted adviser role to perfection because it sees the whole playing field; the set quarterbacks major prosecution programmes and litigation campaigns and demonstrates a deft touch in commercial IP contexts too. The IP team also collaborates well with other divisions of the firm providing an efficient one-stop shop for clients such as Saudi Aramco, the largest energy company in the world. Having handled more than 4,000 international prosecution mandates for Saudi Aramco, Constance Rhebergen and Brad Chin have developed the most intimate knowledge of the brand’s technology. Rhebergen brings strong leadership to the firm’s technology practice and is a repository of trust for many large multinationals who appreciate her global strategic view. Chair of the IP group Chin makes a deserved debut in the guide this year; a master of the chemical, electrical and mechanical arts, he has come to serve a diverse energy and high-tech client base. He is a vital ally to Xiaomi as it expands into the United States. Meeting the transactional needs of discerning rights holders is Janice Davis. She has a granular understanding of how companies set strategy, manage risk, negotiate contracts and work with external partners having served on a part-time seconded basis to one of a private equity client’s portfolio companies.

Caldwell Cassady & Curry

“When you see Caldwell Cassady & Curry on the other side, you sit up and pay attention – the firm is a serious player in patent litigation.” Bradley Caldwell, Jason Cassady and Austin Curry “function like a Navy SEAL team and get the job done for their clients”. Unwilling to settle a case for less than its worth, these lawyers get to trial frequently and perform flawlessly in court. Caldwell can seed conviction in the mind of a jury and does so without any gimmicks – he is smart, persuasive and says things that make sense. Sincerity is also a quality shared by Cassady and Curry, both of whom are fantastic when it comes to the technical aspects of cases. All three individuals prepare thoroughly and thoughtfully and get out ahead of any potential challenges. Recent notable victories, among many, include an 8-0 jury verdict to the tune of $502.6 million in favour of VirnetX against Apple and a unanimous verdict for Acantha versus DePuy Orthopaedics.

Conley Rose

Conley Rose has cracked the code when it comes to creating and driving IP asset value in line with its clients’ broader commercial objectives. The fulcrum around which the high-quality, high-efficiency operation turns is Michael Piper, a “dedicated professional with an exceptional knowledge of USPTO practice. Michael is great on strategy and diligently produces price work showcasing an exceptional level of attention to detail.” As a former board member of the American Intellectual Property Law Association – an organisation with which he remains actively involved – Piper is engaged as a thought leader in the development of US patent law and practice.

Dentons US LLP

Dentons can be all things to all technology companies in a way that is unique; it practices dynamically in prosecution, litigation and transactions and its reach is truly global. Two of the firm’s best patent procurement and counselling lawyers – Robert Hanson and Gary Solomon – are to be found in its Dallas office. Hanson serves as chair of the domestic IP and technology practice and takes the lead on the procurement of biotech patents for industry leaders and a host of top universities from all parts of the country. As one of his clients comments: “We rely heavily on his support and strategic insight and have a much stronger patent portfolio thanks to his guidance and efforts. He really understands our business and is also excellent at evaluating the claims of our key competitors.” Electrical engineering is the focused discipline for Solomon who also comes in for high praise: “Working with Gary is a true delight – he efficiently processes complex technical information while driving excellent business outcomes and saving money. His breadth of expertise is impressive – Gary can do by himself what other firms would send multiple lawyers to cover.” Adobe and the Coca-Cola company are just two of his A-list clients.

Fish & Richardson

Fish’s Texas contingent brings several of the wider firm’s unique selling points into sharp focus, including litigation supremacy, post-grant proficiency, strategic portfolio development expertise and patent monetisation finesse. Taking each of these in turn, Houston lawyers Danielle Joy Healey and John Lane make for excellent lead litigators; Healey stands out for her trial and arbitration experience and dual patent and unfair competition expertise, while Lane stands out in the Texas market for his fluency in life sciences. Joshua Griswold is a vital engine for one of the busiest and most successful post-grant practices in the country, as well as a portfolio management ace with a flair for competitively positioning his clients in dog-eat-dog markets. Other deft operators in both portfolio development and licensing include Dallas-based Terry Stalford and Austin managing principal James Babineau, both of whom garner positive reviews from client references: “Terry consistently delivers high-value assets to clients and is a leading expert in the LTE area. An excellent all-rounder, he meets with success in inter partes reviews and provides essential advice on licensing matters.” “Jim Babineau makes it his job to fully understand the business of his clients and drafts the broadest claims the prior art allows to give you critical protection going forwards, while also providing highly relevant advice on disputes with third parties, European oppositions, freedom-to-operate issues and much more besides. An articulate and excellent communicator, he works well with inventors too.” As one source espouses: “I have read hundreds, perhaps thousands of patents and can honestly say that the best of them all were drafted by Jim.” Other names to note include Wes Musselman in Dallas, a foresighted prosecutor with extensive litigation experience, and Jonathan Solomon, a cloud computing and software supremo. Head of the licensing group Kevin Gray is the ensemble’s most focused monetisation maestro. “Overall, Fish is doing a terrific job – its annoying how good the firm is. Its sustained success is the result of long-term thinking and a prioritisation of high-quality execution over high-volume sales.”

Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP

No matter where they are based, all the trial lawyers at Gibson Dunn are pulling in the same direction and helping to make the firm one of the most collaboratively powerful patent litigation players on the market. Marquee corporations are keen to capitalise on this in the context of complex and commercially consequential disputes. After being accused by Huawei of infringing 12 patents directed to wireless networking technology, T-Mobile called up Gibson Dunn to take over the case shortly before trial; T-Mobile came away with a favourable settlement thanks to the threat value supplied by a team led by high-ranking lawyers in New York and California and the Dallas-based Mark Reiter. The outfit has been taking the high-tech domain by storm and gaining ground in the pharmaceutical and life sciences arena; Tracey Davies has been crucial to the latter endeavour, she is not only an excellent trial lawyer but a perspicacious strategic counsellor and deal-broker.

Haynes and Boone LLP

There is lots to cover with respect to Haynes and Boone but the most sensible place to start is with the firm’s post-grant practice, which is one of the best in the country. Client feedback can do much of the talking here, as one happy customer professes: “The business results obtained through the use of Haynes and Boone in inter partes reviews has been significant and measurable, the firm gives you an excellent return on your investment. Thinking about commercially relevant guidance, quality of work and fair pricing, it also gives the absolute best customer service I have seen from any PTAB firm.” Leader of the practice David O’Brien is “exceptionally sharp” and “the perfect combination of legal scholar, thought leader and skilled practitioner”. “He’s the guy you call to solve your thorniest issues because he always comes through with creative yet practical solutions. He is particularly good in front of the PTAB although his abilities and experience go well beyond that.” Another inter partes review connoisseur is David McCombs, “a leading practitioner when it comes to the thoughtful and strategic analysis of patents in the marketplace and critical opinion work”. He serves as the primary relationship partner for Cisco Systems and takes the lead on the company’s post-issuance matters. Over on the prosecution side of the practice, Haynes and Boone is also prolific and has filed over 11,000 patents in the past five years in a kaleidoscopic range of technologies. The Texas-based lawyers you need to know include firmwide IP chair Randall Brown and Mark Tidwell, who jointly act for Halliburton Energy Services, one of the IP group’s most significant and active patrons. Should infringement headaches loom, Phillip Philbin is the main man. His competitors think highly of him, remarking: “Philip organises his team exceptionally well – he gets fed the right info in the right way at the right time enabling him to focus on what is really important. Articulate and effective in court, he is a formidable advocate.” Deep specialisation in technology transactions allows Haynes and Boone to lay claim to one of the best-rounded patent practices in Texas and the nation. Randall Colson takes the reins in this area and acquits himself with distinction in diverse areas, including life sciences, medical devices and software.

Heim, Payne & Chorush LLP

Having put in a mightily impressive written submission, storming patent trial boutique Heim, Payne & Chorush has earned its extended coverage in the IAM Patent 1000 for 2019; the firm and all previously ranked lawyers move up in the rankings this year, while two individuals make their debut. Recent work highlights include representing Australian government agency the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) against Cisco – the culmination of a decade-long litigation campaign by CSIRO against the WiFi-enabled device market over SEPs; backing up an original win for Rembrandt against Samsung at the Federal Circuit in a dispute over Bluetooth-enhanced data-rate technologies; successfully defending a PTAB challenge brought by Rockwell Automation against client Automation Middleware Solutions; and earning a $40 million judgment for Two-Way Media for AT&T’s infringement of its internet streaming patents. “Michael Heim has great breadth of experience across the contentious/non-contentious divide, which serves him well in litigation. He is excellent at communicating complex concepts in ways that are easy to understand.” Leslie Payne takes command of a suit like a general and is an excellent tactical decision maker. A chemistry PhD and multi-prize-winning law scholar, Russell Chorush has a brilliant scientific and legal mind. Douglas Wilson is another renaissance man with exceptional knowledge of the law and a great many other subjects, such as software and coding. Eric Enger keeps it real for his clients and communicates in a frank and open way regarding their cases.

Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP

A 1,000-lawyer firm serving the global needs of sophisticated global companies, Hunton Andrews Kurth cuts a dash on the world stage. Focusing on intellectual property and Texas, the firm stands out for its cutting-edge transactional expertise, patent prosecution and counselling proficiency. Jeff Dodd is the ensemble’s licensing virtuoso – there is nothing he does not know about either the theory or practice of IP commercialisation. Fellow Houstonian Gregory Porter handles prosecution work for carbon-capture technology pioneer Innovator Energy and carbon nanotubes trailblazer Molecular Rebar Design; he loves pushing the boundaries of what is possible in strategic portfolio management. Porter also has extensive litigation experience and is well informed about Federal Circuit jurisprudence.

McKool Smith

Legendary outfit McKool Smith is “one of the best trial firms you’re going to find” and has “stayed consistent at the top of the technology world for many years”. For over a decade it has represented WiLan in securing settlement and licensing agreements with many household technology companies including Samsung, Intel and Broadcom and, most recently in August 2018 secured a $145 million patent infringement verdict for the licensing entity against Apple; chairman of the firm Mike McKool anchored this case. August 2018 was a big month for the group; Theodore Stevenson scored a $10.5 million verdict for PanOptis against Huawei following a five-day Eastern District of Texas jury trial. Stevenson is hailed as a “deep strategic thinker who sees how issues will play out many steps down the road” and an “excellent presenter in court, especially on complex issues”. “McKool Smith has a number of exceptional lawyers who excel at trial presentation,” including “outstanding leader” Samuel Baxter, who worked with Stevenson for PanOptis. Meanwhile, 40-year veteran Douglas Cawley has been busy with Rovi; in late 2017 he secured exclusion and cease and desist orders against Comcast at the ITC and is currently handling an Eastern District of Texas case against Comcast, ARRIS, Pace and Technicolor.

Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP

“Morgan Lewis & Bockius is a great choice for bet-the-company patent litigation. Its lawyers understand what their clients want and deliver it while setting the standard when it comes to excellent service. They also work harder than anyone else and represent great value for money.” The multiple victories recently secured for TCL Communication Technology Holdings against Ericsson in the PTAB and at trial pay testament to Winstol Carter’s phenomenal abilities as a litigator. Head of the firm’s Texas IP practice, he has tried a remarkable 100-plus IP and other commercial cases to verdict making him one of the most experienced trial lawyers in the country. “Exceptionally experienced IP litigators” David Levy and Rick Rambo deepen the offering in the Lone Star State. They collaborate to give clients such as HP peace of mind in complex suits. Recently, after HP was sued for patent infringement by OpenPrint in the District of Delaware, they stepped in decisively to obtain a dismissal with prejudice. Levy leads the Houston litigation practice and co-chairs the global arbitration team. Rambo is a software marvel who has taught programming language courses and once had his own software business. Looking at the national picture, Morgan Lewis combines dynamic prosecution, litigation, post-grant and transactional practices and is one of the best all-purpose patent firms in the country.

Munck Wilson Mandala LLP

A richly resourced Texas technology and IP firm with 30 registered patent attorneys and 60 attorneys in total, Munck Wilson Mandala has patent prosecution on lock and is becoming a formidable force in litigation. On the procurement side it puts quality first for marquee patrons, including Honeywell International, Raytheon – on whose behalf it filed the 10 millionth US patent in June 2018 – and Samsung Electronics. Managing partner and technology and IP group chair William Munck serves them all tirelessly and receives effusive praise as a result. As one source rhapsodises: “Bill is much more than just an external lawyer – he is an invaluable business partner and an integral part of our success. He’s fantastic in terms of his technical expertise, common sense and strategic insight.” Munck works regularly with David Doyle, an experienced and far-sighted prosecutor who not only helps companies obtain IP assets but also leverage them commercially. Joining them in the IAM Patent 1000 this year is Michael Wilson, the set’s top trial lawyer. One of his big recent wins came for iLife Technologies against Nintendo of America regarding the latter’s infringement of motion detection technology patents; he obtained a $10 million damages award that was then upheld on appeal.

Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP

As a well-integrated global IP firm with hefty US patent prosecution, litigation and transactions practices, Norton Rose Fulbright is in a class of its own. Consistent and stable describes the past year for the firm, which continues to manage the portfolios of prolific filers alongside fighting for and against world-beating technology companies in district court actions, ITC investigations and PTAB proceedings. The side offers an impressive technical bench and has scientists and prosecutors aplenty working out of Texas – in the high-tech field Rutherford Ross Viguet is the go-to for an industry leading semiconductor and wireless technology innovator; in chemistry check out Michael Krawzsenek, who handles the 1,200-plus patent portfolio of Mary Kay; while in the life sciences there are Princeton molecular biology PhD and international patent strategist Gina Shishima and ambidextrous prosecutor and litigator Mark Bradley Wilson, who captains the US IP transactions and prosecution group. The Norton Rose litigation offering is similarly stacked and includes “top trial lawyer” Brett Govett; head of technology and innovation Richard Zembek, a FRAND standards authority; and head of IP disputes Charles Walker, an inveterate trial winner and “consummate gentleman who understands the international IP landscape perfectly”. This is a description that applies equally well for transactions maven James Repass; he is responsible for leading the global IP group and acquits himself with distinction in the role.

Osha Liang LLP

With outposts in Alexandria, Austin, Hangzhou, Paris, Santa Clara and Tokyo, Osha Liang has a uniquely positioned network and a rare ability to handle patent prosecution and strategy matters across the United States, Europe and Asia. Building on rock-solid technical foundations, it provides an excellent service that represents outstanding value for money – the way in which it recruits science and engineering graduates and assiduously schools them in the most sophisticated prosecution techniques is central to this. However, the model would not work without strong leaders such as Jeffrey Bergman who has prosecuted key patents for clients in many technical disciplines and industry sectors. Contacts in Europe and Asia look to him for incisive insight into the US patent system.

Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP

Fired up by ground-breaking technologies, Pillsbury can be found at the cutting edge of developments in fields such as software, blockchain and artificial intelligence. The firm has an ace up its sleeve in Austin-based Josh Tucker, who has filed 70 blockchain patents. The software savant has also masterminded different techniques to help his clients overcome patent eligibility issues and is in high demand as a result. As a former general counsel at an innovative internet company, Edward Cavazos has also witnessed and played a hand in a lot of game-changing technology moments. He does a lot of different things in patent practice from transactions to litigation but can best be described as a commercial problem solver; he understands that doing a deal or litigating are not ends in themselves but are activities with a business purpose.

Reed Smith LLP

Reed Smith has a hard-hitting patent litigation crew based in Houston and anchored by Nicolas Barzoukas, Peter Chassman and Robert Riddle. Barzoukas is a veteran of many Hatch-Waxman Act campaigns concerning blockbuster drugs and a trial team leader who enjoys mucking in during the preparation of cases as much as he loves to argue in court. Chassman never settles for anything less than the best business result for his clients and thrives in the cut and thrust of district court and ITC litigation; leveraging his electrical and computer engineering background, he also performs exceptionally at the PTAB. Speaking of technical training, Riddle comes armed with a PhD in biochemistry earned locally at the University of Houston. He is at his best in the life sciences sector but comfortable with all forms of innovation.

Skiermont Derby LLP 

Paul J Skiermont, the founding partner of trial ensemble Skiermont Derby, receives some of the best feedback of any Texas patent litigator. As one client highlights: “I’ve worked with many outside counsel over the past decade and Paul is easily at the top in terms of the thoroughness of his legal analysis.” Another adds: “We never fail to be amazed by his command of the details of each case he’s handling – and his recall is instant when you ring him up out of the blue.” Shining a spotlight on his PTAB expertise, one client comments: “I have instructed counsel from large and small firms but never worked with anyone who delivers the kind of inter partes review results that Paul does. He regularly mops the floor with the mega-firms and even gets compliments from in-house people on the other side.” Unsurprisingly, he has been added to the IAM Patent 1000’s list of national post-grant leaders this year. In one of the most significant patent cases of 2018, he persuaded the Federal Circuit to reverse a district court summary judgment of ineligibility under Section 101 won by HP against his client Steven Berkheimer; this was the first time that fact issues as to whether a claim covered well-understood routine and conventional technology were held to have prevented a summary finding of patent eligibility; as an addendum, HP’s request for en banc review by the Federal Circuit was denied. Prospective clients of the firm should keep in mind that it is not all about Skiermont; he is flanked by some rising stars, including Sadaf Abdullah, Mieke Malmberg and Sarah Spires.

Slater & Matsil LLP

Slater & Matsil delivers top-notch results in prosecution and patent analysis for its roster of global industry leaders, regional North Texas start-ups and technology companies and top patent litigation firms, as an outpouring of excellent feedback bears testament: “The firm’s strength in prosecution cannot be questioned. In terms of deeply rooted technical capability it outperforms even the best boutiques while being highly cost-effective and responsive. The team makes filing and strategic decisions based on their economic value to your business and has a gift for putting you in the strongest possible position vis-à-vis your competitors.” Steve Slater and Ira Matsil are the stars of the show, although that is not to underestimate the quality of the individuals around them. Slater is mindful about retaining talent and has been creative in establishing a parallel track for non-attorneys at the firm so that they have a desirable career path ahead of them; the creation of a distinguished patent agent position makes the firm unique. Slater provides essential support to Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company and has prosecuted over a quarter of all its US patents; he conducts in-person interviews with examiners for the most critical applications. Matsil, who acts for Huawei, Infineon Technologies and ST Microelectronics, is infinitely agile when it comes to understanding new and complex technical concepts. He never gets tunnel vision and always sees the big commercial and strategic picture.

Susman Godfrey LLP 

Explaining the firm’s chief appeal, one competitor concludes: “Susman Godfrey is willing to go in and try the toughest high-stakes patent cases and is excellent at winning them.” This is why companies like Fractus call on it; Max Tribble and Justin Nelson are currently representing the Barcelona antenna technology company in a case against ZTE having previously sued multiple mobile phone manufacturers for the brand and coming away with $108 million, $70 million in licensing fees and the rest a jury trial judgment. “Tribble’s leadership and strategic vision are a powerful catalyst for success. He speaks to juries in a very authentic way and always comes out on top in the courtroom.” Nelson is a former US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit and Supreme Court law clerk whose scholastic attainments are great and many; he has indefatigable intellectual horsepower matched by polished presentation skills. Joseph Grinstein has been litigating extensively for Personalized Media Communications against Samsung Electronics, Funai Electric and Vizio in one series of suits and against Rovi Guides in another case. “A conscientious lawyer, he marshals the evidence in a cogent way and has a low key but very effective cross-examination technique.” Like the other senior members of the group, “Joe accesses the right talent in the firm and assembles excellent teams to facilitate great outcomes.” Alexandra White was responsible for one of the firm’s most notable successes in 2018 – a precedent-setting ruling from the Federal Circuit in favour of clients Koninklijke KPN, 3G Licensing and Orange that addressed the effect on foreign corporations of federal venue statutes and case law that limited the districts in which patent suits could be brought.

Thompson & Knight LLP

Thompson & Knight’s high-calibre senior patent trial lawyers have all faced battle together; they are in sync in terms of strategy and operate as a surgical strike force for their prestigious clients. Over the past year the set has been engaged in a number of drawn-out firefights, including one for a mobile software company against several well-heeled technology companies and their A-list law firms – Max Ciccarelli, Bruce Sostek, Richard Wynne and Herbert Hammond are supplying bunker-busting firepower on this case. Ciccarelli motivates and inspires as leader of the IP practice and as a trial lawyer achieves his objective swiftly and decisively. A deep strategic thinker, Sostek plays multi-dimensional chess like a champion. Wynne is one of the smartest guys in any room; he knows the law inside out and can recite Federal Circuit cases all day long. He is lethal in cross-examination and great on the science too. Hammond is looked up to as an IP – not just patent – litigation statesman. Deserving of more than a just a shout out, Justin Cohen takes his place alongside his colleagues in the IAM Patent 1000 for the first time this year; the young partner is instinctively incisive before a jury. Although several of its IP lawyers are registered at the USPTO, Thompson & Knight does not do prosecution work and focuses instead on transactional matters on the non-contentious side. Stephen Stein is a licensing ace who anyone would want by their side in touch-and-go negotiations.

Vinson & Elkins LLP

Commentators speak highly of Vinson & Elkins as a “well-established and stable Texas firm with an excellent roster of large institutional clients”. Intellectual property is a central plank of the set’s full-service offering with patent litigation and technology transactions being focal points for an expert panel of specialised lawyers. Captaining the group is Fred Williams, “a really approachable guy who gives such great client service” – but also a fierce litigator. His blend of IP, unfair competition and regulatory expertise is a boon to innovators in the computer, networking and telecoms theatres. His trial line-up includes Craig Tyler and Michael Simons, who are both coming into their own as trade secret litigators in a changing patent market, and Steve Borgman who litigates across the IP spectrum with winning results. Peter Mims is a confident handler of complex disputes but is best known for his commercial IP expertise. “He’s super well-rounded and can help out clients in many meaningful ways.”

Ward, Smith & Hill PLLC

A Texas trial firm with a Texas practice, Ward, Smith & Hill understands the decision-making mindset of Eastern District of Texas judges better than just about any other firm. When it comes to patent actions in the district, John (Johnny) Ward and Wesley Hill are “second to none”. “Eminently capable litigators with exceptional trial craft and great judgement, they can handle an important case from start to finish and are so much more than just local counsel.”

Weil Gotshal & Manges LLP 

Weil presides over an elevated patent trials practice that is consistently sought out by some of the most discerning and demanding global technology companies. Its California, New York, DC and Texas offices are home to streamlined teams of patent litigators, which are well integrated on a national level and have enough potency to take on major campaigns. Making significant contributions to the practice are Houstonians Doug McClellan and Garland Stephens. McClellan, working with Elizabeth Weiswasser in New York and Ed Reines in Silicon Valley, is currently representing LiquidPower Specialty Products against Baker Hughes in district court litigation and inter partes reviews. Also linking up with Silicon Valley, Stephens is acting for T-Mobile against the University of Minnesota regarding patents directed to 4G LTE cellular communications.

Winston & Strawn LLP 

In discussions about the best patent litigation firm in the country, Winston & Strawn will be part of the conversation; its dedicated team numbers 170 attorneys and includes more than 25 partners who have led trial teams to verdict. Lawyers in its Dallas office have driven much of the firm’s growth of late, particularly 2017 recruits Thomas Melsheimer and Michael Bittner. They secured an exceptional win for SAP America against InvestPic recently when the Federal Circuit affirmed an earlier Northern District of Texas victory finding InvestPic’s patent to be invalid on subject-matter eligibility grounds; many others have attempted to invalidate the same patent but failed – Winston succeeded and obtained a substantial attorneys’ fees award in the process. Moving south to Houston John Keville has also tasted success at the appellate level acting for Smith International against Baker Hughes. In this matter the Federal Circuit reversed a PTAB ruling that deemed Smith’s patent claims invalid on the basis that the USPTO had interpreted the relevant claims in an unreasonable manner. As one respondent expounds: “John distinguishes himself as an exceptionally strategic lawyer who helps you avoid future litigation and win inevitable litigation before a case is even filed.” Another great Houston lawyer, Joseph Lechtenberger leverages his academic and practical petroleum engineering expertise as a litigator and counsellor.

Other recommended experts

Jeffrey Bragalone is a commercial litigation sharpshooter with an especially impressive faculty for technically dense patent cases. A rangy and versatile operator, he has engaged in battles over myriad technologies in district courts, the PTAB and the Federal Circuit and has an excellent track record to show for it. He is the founding partner of Bragalone Conroy in Dallas. Concerning Scott Breedlove one reference comments: “I know the Texas patent litigation scene extremely well and can say that Scott litigates with rare skill and efficiency.” The Carter Arnett partner has a lot going on and is litigating for Lutron Electronics, a leading smartphone maker, and Teva Pharmaceuticals but he never drops the ball. Hilda Galvan flies the flag for Jones Day in Texas. The Dallas partner-in-charge is a veteran trial lawyer with a national reputation. She recently obtained a dismissal with prejudice of a case filed against Compass Bank in a patent infringement action filed by Intellectual Ventures II. DLA Piper Austin managing partner John Guaragna regularly litigates for industry leaders such as Medtronic and Oracle. Shook Hardy’s Sharon A Israel is one of Texas’s top IP thought leaders. She gets out in front of market trends to keep her clients fighting fit in the most competitive markets. As a litigator she has been putting in sterling performances for entertainment software company Valve in district courts and at the PTAB. Jill McWhirter of King & Spalding is a leading light on IP and technology transactions in the energy sector. Her work for Key Energy Services highlights her versatility; she manages the company’s international portfolio and has successfully represented it in numerous post-grant proceedings. Operating out of Barnes & Thornburg’s Dallas office is Mark Nelson, a veteran lead trial counsel who is au fait with biotech and high-tech innovations. Michael Newton co-chairs Alston & Bird’s IP group. He manifests a particular faculty for coordinating sprawling domestic multi-patent and venue cases as well as cross-border litigations. Schwegman Lundberg & Woessner is a top prosecution firm and Garth Vivier is one of its top prosecutors. The former missile guidance systems engineer is a master of the electrical arts and an expert on international rights protection. An experienced deal broker in the energy space, Jeffrey Whittle serves as managing partner of Womble Bond Dickinson’s Houston office.

Individuals: litigation

  • Samuel F Baxter - McKool Smith
  • Douglas Cawley - McKool Smith
  • Brett C Govett - Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP
  • Wesley Hill - Ward, Smith & Hill PLLC
  • John R Keville - Winston & Strawn LLP
  • Mike McKool - McKool Smith
  • Thomas Melsheimer - Winston & Strawn LLP
  • Paul J Skiermont - Skiermont Derby LLP 
  • Bruce S Sostek - Thompson & Knight LLP
  • Theodore Stevenson - McKool Smith
  • Max Tribble - Susman Godfrey LLP 
  • Charles B Walker - Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP
  • David B Weaver - Baker Botts LLP
  • Amir H Alavi - Ahmad Zavitsanos Anaipakos Alavi & Mensing PC 
  • Demetrios Anaipakos - Ahmad Zavitsanos Anaipakos Alavi & Mensing PC 
  • Bradley W Caldwell - Caldwell Cassady & Curry
  • Winstol D Carter - Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP
  • Jason D Cassady - Caldwell Cassady & Curry
  • Russell Chorush - Heim, Payne & Chorush LLP
  • Max Ciccarelli - Thompson & Knight LLP
  • J Austin Curry - Caldwell Cassady & Curry
  • Tracey B Davies - Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP
  • Eric Enger - Heim, Payne & Chorush LLP
  • Roger Fulghum - Baker Botts LLP
  • Hilda Galvan - Jones Day
  • Joseph S Grinstein - Susman Godfrey LLP
  • Michael Heim - Heim, Payne & Chorush LLP
  • Sharon A Israel - Shook Hardy & Bacon LLP 
  • Douglas M Kubehl - Baker Botts LLP
  • Doug McClellan - Weil Gotshal & Manges LLP
  • David L McCombs - Haynes and Boone LLP
  • Kevin J Meek - Baker Botts LLP
  • Peter E Mims - Vinson & Elkins LLP
  • Justin Nelson - Susman Godfrey LLP 
  • Kurt Pankratz - Baker Botts LLP
  • Leslie Payne - Heim, Payne & Chorush LLP
  • Phillip B Philbin - Haynes and Boone LLP
  • Mark Reiter - Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP
  • Barton E Showalter - Baker Botts LLP
  • Garland T Stephens - Weil Gotshal & Manges LLP
  • T John (Johnny) Ward Jr - Ward, Smith & Hill PLLC
  • Douglas Wilson - Heim, Payne & Chorush LLP
  • Russell Wong - Blank Rome LLP
  • Richard L Wynne - Thompson & Knight LLP
  • Richard S Zembek - Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP
  • Nicolas G Barzoukas - Reed Smith LLP
  • Michael A Bittner - Winston & Strawn LLP
  • Steve Borgman - Vinson & Elkins LLP
  • Jeffrey Bragalone - Bragalone Conroy PC 
  • Scott W Breedlove - Carter Arnett PLLC
  • J David Cabello - Blank Rome LLP
  • Peter J Chassman - Reed Smith LLP
  • Justin Cohen - Thompson & Knight LLP
  • John M Guaragna - DLA Piper LLP (US)
  • Herbert J Hammond - Thompson & Knight LLP
  • Michael Hawes - Baker Botts LLP
  • Danielle Joy Healey - Fish & Richardson
  • Michael Krawzsenek - Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP
  • John R Lane - Fish & Richardson
  • Joseph D Lechtenberger - Winston & Strawn LLP
  • David J Levy - Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP
  • Paul Morico - Baker Botts LLP
  • William A Munck - Munck Wilson Mandala LLP
  • Mark C Nelson - Barnes & Thornburg LLP
  • Michael J Newton - Alston & Bird LLP
  • Rick L Rambo - Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP
  • Robert R Riddle - Reed Smith LLP
  • Keith A Rutherford - Blank Rome LLP
  • Michael Simons - Vinson & Elkins LLP
  • M Craig Tyler - Vinson & Elkins LLP
  • Alexandra White - Susman Godfrey LLP
  • Fred I Williams - Vinson & Elkins LLP
  • Michael C Wilson - Munck Wilson Mandala LLP

Individuals: prosecution

  • James Babineau - Fish & Richardson
  • Jeffrey Bergman - Osha Liang LLP
  • Randall C Brown - Haynes and Boone LLP
  • Brad Y Chin - Bracewell LLP
  • David M Doyle - Munck Wilson Mandala LLP
  • J Kevin Gray - Fish & Richardson
  • Joshua Griswold - Fish & Richardson
  • Robert Hanson - Dentons US LLP
  • Michael Krawzsenek - Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP
  • Keith Lutsch - Blank Rome LLP
  • Ira S Matsil - Slater & Matsil LLP
  • David L McCombs - Haynes and Boone LLP
  • Jill A McWhirter - King & Spalding LLP
  • Kevin J Meek - Baker Botts LLP
  • William A Munck - Munck Wilson Mandala LLP
  • Wes Musselman - Fish & Richardson
  • David O'Brien - Haynes and Boone LLP
  • Michael Piper - Conley Rose
  • Gregory L Porter - Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP
  • Constance Rhebergen - Bracewell LLP
  • Gina N Shishima - Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP
  • Barton E Showalter - Baker Botts LLP
  • Steven Slater - Slater & Matsil LLP
  • Gary B Solomon - Dentons US LLP
  • Jonathan Solomon - Fish & Richardson
  • Terry Stalford - Fish & Richardson
  • Mark A Tidwell - Haynes and Boone LLP
  • Josh Tucker - Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP
  • Rutherford Ross Viguet - Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP
  • Garth Vivier - Schwegman Lundberg & Woessner PA
  • Mark Bradley Wilson - Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP
  • Russell Wong - Blank Rome LLP

Individuals: transactions

  • Jeff C Dodd - Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP
  • James W Repass - Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP
  • Barton E Showalter - Baker Botts LLP
  • Stephen E Stein - Thompson & Knight LLP
  • Jeffrey S Whittle - Womble Bond Dickinson (US) LLP
  • James Babineau - Fish & Richardson
  • Christa Brown-Sanford - Baker Botts LLP
  • Edward A Cavazos - Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP
  • Randall E Colson - Haynes and Boone LLP
  • Janice Z Davis - Bracewell LLP
  • J Kevin Gray - Fish & Richardson
  • Douglas M Kubehl - Baker Botts LLP
  • Keith Lutsch - Blank Rome LLP
  • David L McCombs - Haynes and Boone LLP
  • Jill A McWhirter - King & Spalding LLP
  • Kevin J Meek - Baker Botts LLP
  • Peter E Mims - Vinson & Elkins LLP
  • Gregory L Porter - Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP
  • Constance Rhebergen - Bracewell LLP
  • Gina N Shishima - Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP
  • Terry Stalford - Fish & Richardson
  • Mark A Tidwell - Haynes and Boone LLP
  • Mark Bradley Wilson - Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP
  • Russell Wong - Blank Rome LLP
  • Richard L Wynne - Thompson & Knight LLP