United States: Washington

Firms: litigation

Firms: prosecution

Firms: transactions

Baker & Hostetler LLP

With more than 170 specialised lawyers, BakerHostetler is resource-rich when it comes to intellectual property and can cater to all the needs of top technology companies. The Seattle team has been sailing on a steady course this past year undertaking its usual mix of patent prosecution and transactional work in addition to litigation. The engine driving the local group is Timothy Casey, a former in-house counsel who understands the business, budget and political pressures his clients face. He delivers value by utilising his high-level expertise, efficiency and versatility – he knows patent, trademark and copyright law like the back of his hand. One of the biggest patent procurement dockets in Seattle is managed by computer scientist Michael Swope, whose litigation experience informs a forward-thinking, risk-savvy approach to prosecution. Michael Stein is a key ally for those in the start-up community.

Christensen O’Connor Johnson Kindness PLLC

Partnering closely with clients, listening carefully to their needs and not selling them unnecessary services is the modus operandi of COJK; it is therefore unsurprising that the outfit garners effusive feedback from the marketplace. Receiving particularly loud applause for their work protecting and developing the portfolios of life sciences companies are George Renzoni and Melissa Nowak: “George is a true expert not just regarding the procurement process but also the business of intellectual property; he communicates well with business executives and quickly understands the commercial considerations unique to each situation in which he helps his clients. While remaining the key relationship partner, he brings in other people from the group in a way that is seamless and ensures continuity and which gives you a feeling of security. George and his team complete high-quality work quickly and provide first-class customer service.” “Melissa has a strong background in immunology which helps to make her a very efficient prosecutor; her diligence and proactivity further ensure that your protection is never compromised. She is very enthusiastic and flexible and communicates equally well with scientists and non-scientists. Her fees are eminently reasonable too.” Chemistry PhD Rhys Lawson deepens the life sciences prosecution bench significantly; he never prevaricates but gets things done right the first time. Focusing on the mechanical and chemical domains, Emily Peyser has been surpassing expectations and makes her debut in the IAM Patent 1000 this year as a result. As one respondent enthuses: “Smart, patient, creative, committed and utterly dependable, Emily helps you achieve your business goals. Her ability to monitor competitive activity and then analyse and mitigate risk is exceptional.” She has flourished thanks to the mentoring of senior lawyers in the group, such as IP all-rounder Jerald Nagae, an opinion-giver and strategist par excellence. “Jerald provides strong leadership and is an extremely capable attorney across the board. Sensitive to budget pressures, he sticks to billing arrangements even where there are unforeseen circumstances and provides top-quality results that go right to the heart of your business.” On the contentious side, the firm is currently engaged in some major trade secret litigation, an area in which John Denkenberger is a top authority. Denkenberger does not get bogged down in technical or other details – he understands the nuances of his cases but sees the big picture in a way that enables him to develop clear trial themes and present resonantly. As co-managing partner, he has cultivated an extremely collaborative atmosphere in which team members are focused on more than just making money. This suits Brandon Stallman, a mechanical engineering and software ace with an eye for strategy who provides vital support in litigation. Representing clients in inter partes reviews is a notable thread in his recent practice.

Cooley LLP

The name Cooley reverberates in the life sciences community; the firm is simply one of the best in the world at protecting and commercialising pharmaceutical and biotech innovations. Two of the leading lights of the practice are Seattle-based Bill Christiansen and Carol Laherty, both molecular biology PhDs and dynamic global action planners.

Dorsey & Whitney LLP

Dorsey & Whitney has been in expansion mode recently and made some significant additions to its Salt Lake City and Palo Alto offices. Its patent practice in Seattle may be compact but, in recognition of its quality, the firm makes its first appearance in the IAM Patent 1000 Washington rankings this year. High-tech prosecution maestro Kimton Eng is the local star; he serves as patent counsel to Micron Technology, a Fortune 500 company and patent portfolio quality chart topper for which Dorsey has secured over 2,200 US patents and worked with for more than 20 years. With Paul Meiklejohn on deck, Dorsey also has one of the most experienced litigators in the Pacific Northwest. He has a talent for keeping patent assertion entities at bay.

Fenwick & West LLP

Transcendent technology firm Fenwick & West stops at nothing to protect the innovations and business interests of its clients and can field a hard-hitting patent litigation team that is always trial-ready. One of the set’s top lawyers is Seattle-based David Tellekson, whose national reputation precedes him. As reported in last year’s version of the IAM Patent 1000 he did some outstanding work for Cray against Raytheon in which he brought clarity to the venue rules established in TC Heartland v Kraft Foods and had the case against his client transferred out of the Eastern District of Texas to the Western District of Wisconsin, since then he has forced Raytheon to drop its claims on two of the four patents in suit and limited the claims on the remaining patents. Tellekson can adapt quickly to any technology but has a particularly flourishing practice in the life sciences area, which is also the forte of Melanie Mayer, who is a molecular biology and genetics PhD. She is described as being an “amazing attorney” as a result of her scientific prowess and her trial nous.

Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP

In terms of the comprehensiveness of its IP practice, Kilpatrick Townsend is virtually unsurpassed; it has no discernible weak points – the firm is as good on patents as it is on brands; it has experienced practitioners in all scientific and engineering disciplines; and it acquits itself with distinction on both sides of the contentious/non-contentious divide. “The firm’s Seattle group is doing extremely well under Roger Wylie,” who handles computer, internet, communications and medical device technologies with dexterity. “Beyond being technically brilliant, Roger is an excellent communicator; he efficiently extracts the information he needs to deliver an excellent finished product and builds trust with his clients.” He acts for a leading e-commerce company alongside Jesse Bennet who is a rapidly rising star. Much more than just prosecutors, the two are trusted advisers who guide innovators strategically with respect to portfolio development, enforcement and monetisation. Cut from a similar cloth is immunology PhD Andrew Serafini, an international thinker with excellent connections and finely honed business sense.

Knobbe Martens

With more than 250 individuals engaged in patent practice, Knobbe Martens is one of the largest IP and technology firms in the United States; however, it is not all about size, collaboration and quality are the firm’s key narratives. Leveraging the organisation’s rich social capital to deliver holistic solutions to their software, IT, and fintech clients is a tight-knit team in Seattle formed by Maria Anderson, Mauricio Uribe and Melanie Seelig. Sought after as a strategic counsellor, Anderson has been at the forefront of developments in the computer science field for decades; lately she has been utilising her knowledge of the protection of AI innovations. Software connoisseur Uribe is service-minded to the last and enhances the set’s prosecution offering through his astute deployment of efficiency and data analytics tools. Seelig is a pathfinder for her clients whose rigorous analysis of competitive threats – and dexterity neutralising them – creates long-term business value. Meanwhile, deploying from Seattle on major pharmaceutical litigations is Carol Pitzel Cruz, the local managing partner. She has been the driving force behind many successes for Lupin Pharmaceuticals in recent years.

Lane Powell PC

Lane Powell despatches patent instructions with a deft commercial touch; its prosecutors and litigators carefully consider the business ramifications of their actions and devote their full energy to the realisation of client objectives. In the areas of natural language processing, machine learning and artificial intelligence, Alan Minsk has set himself apart as one of the region’s go-to counsellors. For many of his clients he serves as de facto chief IP counsel, a role he is perfectly suited to given his ability to approach all manner of patent problems with a birds-eye view. Lately, he has assisted Dimensional Mechanics, a company that is transforming data analysis through AI applications, with procuring valuable patents, minimising risk and maximising licensing opportunities. For support in litigation, look to Brian Bodine. Knowing that every case is different, Bodine does not just go through the motions or provide cookie-cutter solutions; he is hands-on through all phases of a case and tailors and finely calibrates his approach in view of the technology, the parties involved and any relevant market trends. He often collaborates closely with Minsk to dive into the minutiae of a patent problem.

Lee & Hayes, PC 

Scoring high marks for the quality of the patents it obtains, Lee & Hayes has mastered the art of prosecution. Moreover, taking inspiration from founding partner Lewis Lee, the firm approaches IP practice with a uniquely commercial perspective. Lee now serves as CEO and global head of Aon Intellectual Property Solutions, but there remains a fulsome group of excellent practitioners at the firm who all champion the approach he introduced. Leading the chemical and life sciences group, Rachal Winger knows how to create IP value for start-ups and universities and how to build on it for multinationals. On her team is Brett Nelson, who has drafted and procured crucial patents for many of the group’s patrons. On the high-tech side, brands can choose from Rob Hartman, Bea Koempel-Thomas, Rob Peck or David Divine and come away with iron-wrought protection and shrewd strategies to take their business to the next level. Hartman is an excellent communicator and can work effectively with anyone; Koempel-Thomas is a former USPTO examiner in the cybersecurity field and has an up-to-the-minute knowledge of international trends and developments in patent law and policy; former board member Peck is instrumental in the smooth running of the innovative firm – he was the brains behind its compensation model; and Divine has a faculty for utility and design patents and is another of the set’s former examiners.

Lowe Graham Jones

Seattle boutique Lowe Graham Jones offers a panoply of patent and other IP services – there is nothing it cannot do for both nascent and long-established businesses. However, the firm earns its place in the IAM Patent 1000 this year for its litigation prowess which is chiefly manifested in Lawrence Graham and Mark Walters. Of the former, as one peer expounds: “Larry served as a court-appointed special master in one of my cases and I must say that he did a terrific job. His analysis of key issues is deep and clear, and he writes very cogent opinions. He is just super steeped in patent law and practice.” While Walters is described as being “extremely bright”, he is an experienced trial lawyer who has fought and won many tough battles around the country.

Perkins Coie LLP 

An IP kingpin in Seattle as well as across the country, Perkins Coie has all the resources a top technology company could ever want. Many of its individuals demonstrate thought and practice leadership in cutting-edge areas of technology in a way that truly elevates the Perkins Coie brand. For example, in the convergent medical technology space, Paul Parker is a leading light, as one respondent affirms: “Paul is deeply knowledgeable about the industry and is a deal maker for emerging companies, not a deal killer.” Stephen Bishop is a connoisseur on anything computer or internet-related. “He has ample in-house and private practice experience and a refined and mature understanding of patent strategy.” Steve Lawrenz is a software and AI guru, who contributes much to the firm’s outstanding PTAB practice. Christopher Daley-Watson and Maurice Pirio are authorities on 5G and blockchain technology respectively. The organisation is also home to broader-based technologists such as Aaron Poledna, who chairs the firmwide prosecution group. He comes from an aerospace engineering background and now works extensively in the aerospace, medical device, semiconductor and software fields, and is recognised for his work in both the IAM Patent 1000 and the IAM Strategy 300. Mechanical engineer John Wechkin has acted for Nevro on the medical device side, Boeing in aerospace and Micron in semiconductors. Included on the IAM Patent 1000 national patent litigation table this year, Perkins Coie is one of the most frequently hired firms for defence in the entire United States. A look at the quality of its line-up in Seattle alone tells you enough about why; Ramsey Al-Salam, Jerry Riedinger and Ryan McBrayer are pure match winners. Al-Salam is hailed to be an “energetic, practical and grounded litigator with an outstanding knowledge of patent law”. “Jerry has amazing attention to detail – nothing escapes him. He litigates patent cases in a very strategic way and is a brilliant critical thinker.” Riedinger was part of a large, well-organised and collaborative national team that netted multiple inter partes review wins for Fontem Ventures in its recent battle with RJ Reynolds Vapor Company. McBrayer has also tasted post-grant success and recently won Federal Circuit appeals arising out of PTAB decisions acting for McAfee. However, one of the most experienced practitioners when it comes to USPTO contested proceedings is Chun Ng, who maintains desks in both Seattle and Taipei. He comes across well in front of administrative patent judges as he combines the best traits of a litigator, prosecutor and transactional lawyer.

Seed Intellectual Property Law Group LLP

First and foremost, Seed Intellectual Property Law Group gets hired because of its quality; however, the fact that it offers an efficient and cost-effective service while being flexible around alternative fee arrangements is also a major magnet for clients. In the Seed IP vocabulary, quality means tailored solutions that keep clients strategically protected throughout the world and for the long term. There is a lot of practitioners to choose from, but a good place to start is portfolio manager Shoko Leek. “She is the definition of grace under pressure – she never gets flustered despite her enormous workload.” Kevan Morgan is another individual whose “deep prosecution experience inspires confidence”. Jeffrey Sakoi is “a great attorney and mentor. He always asks clients what are the issues that keep them awake at night and that way develops a deeper understanding of what they really need.” Brooke Quist excels at implementing far-sighted IP strategies that align well with wider commercial objectives. All four specialise in the high-tech area. The Seed IP chemical and life sciences practice is equally strong and is led by another quartet consisting of Jeffrey Pepe, Samuel Webb, Karl Hermanns and Stephen Rosenman. Pepe and Webb both have in-house backgrounds and understand the commercial drivers of the pharmaceutical industry. Hermanns and Rosenman both lecture on patent practice at the University of Washington. “In prosecution, licensing and litigation, David Carlson does high-quality work” and is among the firm’s most versatile operators.

Shook Hardy & Bacon LLP 

Shook’s proficiency in prosecution coupled with its efficient handling of high-stakes litigation makes it an excellent one-stop shop for patent services – one that is frequented by a diverse catalogue of industry-leading technology companies. Putting the firm on the map in Seattle is former Microsoft chief patent counsel Bart Eppenauer. A lucid authority on subjects such as patent eligibility and blockchain and distributed ledger technology, Eppenauer understands where the market is heading and therefore how best to position his clients. His voice is an influential one in the US and global IP policy discussion.

Susman Godfrey LLP 

When there is a lot on the line, plaintiffs and defendants alike call on elite trial firm Susman Godfrey. Frequently taking cases on a contingency fee basis, the set litigates efficiently with a laser focus on the most dispositive issues – the firm is not in the shakedown business but puts its own time and money at risk, which inspires confidence with in-house counsel. Another unique selling point is the outstanding quality of the firm’s associate pool – Susman Godfrey only hires attorneys who have clerked for federal judges or justices of the Supreme Court; they get a lot of responsibility, which is a smart move given the well-known fact that courts want to see more junior lawyers involved in cases. Crucial in this regard is the leadership supplied in abundance by partners such as Parker Folse III and Genevieve Vose Wallace in Seattle. Often outnumbered but never outworked, these two trial lawyers have impeccable success records across the country.

Other recommended experts

Cozen O’Connor made a smart move in 2018 when it hired former Seed IP partner Frank Abramonte. “Frank excels at quickly understanding very complicated technical inventions and identifying exactly how they should be formulated in patent applications. He’s a master at preparing these himself, and no less adept at helping a client turn their own drafts into what they need to be. His work product is impeccable, and his work ethic no less so. Always responsive, on time, and within budget, delivering for his clients is a constant focus for him.” Neil Calvin started and led Microsoft’s patent licensing team when working in-house at the company for nine years. He now runs his own eponymously titled law office. Athorus founder Larry Harris is revered in the Washington IP arena: “Larry has an extremely strategic mentality from a business perspective and effortlessly addresses intertwined legal, technical and commercial issues.” At Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, Michael Rosato is the go-to for representation in post-grant proceedings. With 12 years of software engineering experience on his résumé – more than half of those spent as a Microsoft researcher – Han Santos’ managing partner Patrick Santos is a compelling choice for anyone looking for IP advice on software matters. Douglas Stewart chairs Bracewell’s IP litigation practice, some of his recent practice highlights include representing Nordstrom in multi-faceted IP suits, acting for Big Fish Games in a Federal Circuit appeal and defending Toshiba in district courts and the International Trade Commission. VLP Law Group has a new prosecution ace in Jim White, who recently parted ways with Seed IP. He is one of Washington’s leading software minds. Pragmatica Law co-founder Greg Wrenn comes from a distinguished in-house background; he has worked for Adobe Systems, Yahoo! and three NASDAQ-listed Silicon Valley companies. His commercial IP sense is as refined as it gets.

Individuals: litigation

  • Ramsey M Al-Salam - Perkins Coie LLP
  • Parker C Folse III - Susman Godfrey LLP
  • Jerry A Riedinger - Perkins Coie LLP
  • David K Tellekson - Fenwick & West LLP
  • Brian G Bodine - Lane Powell PC
  • David V Carlson - Seed Intellectual Property Law Group LLP
  • John D Denkenberger - Christensen O’Connor Johnson Kindness PLLC
  • Lawrence Graham - Lowe Graham Jones
  • Melanie L Mayer - Fenwick & West LLP
  • Ryan J McBrayer - Perkins Coie LLP
  • Paul T Meiklejohn - Dorsey & Whitney LLP
  • Carol Pitzel Cruz - Knobbe Martens
  • Douglas Stewart - Bracewell LLP
  • Genevieve Vose Wallace - Susman Godfrey LLP
  • Mark P Walters - Lowe Graham Jones

Individuals: prosecution

  • Frank Abramonte - Cozen O’Connor
  • Maria Anderson - Knobbe Martens
  • Stephen C Bishop - Perkins Coie LLP
  • Bill Christiansen - Cooley LLP
  • Christopher Daley-Watson - Perkins Coie LLP
  • Kimton Eng - Dorsey & Whitney LLP
  • Bart Eppenauer - Shook Hardy & Bacon LLP 
  • Larry Harris - Athorus PLLC
  • Chun M Ng - Perkins Coie LLP
  • Melissa A Nowak - Christensen O’Connor Johnson Kindness PLLC
  • Paul T Parker - Perkins Coie LLP
  • George Renzoni - Christensen O’Connor Johnson Kindness PLLC
  • Andrew T Serafini - Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP
  • Mauricio Uribe - Knobbe Martens
  • Jim White - VLP Law Group LLP
  • Roger Wylie - Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP
  • Jesse S Bennett - Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP
  • Timothy D Casey - Baker & Hostetler LLP
  • John D Denkenberger - Christensen O’Connor Johnson Kindness PLLC
  • David Divine - Lee & Hayes, PC
  • Rob Hartman - Lee & Hayes, PC
  • Karl R Hermanns - Seed Intellectual Property Law Group LLP
  • Bea Koempel-Thomas - Lee & Hayes, PC
  • Carol Laherty - Cooley LLP
  • Steve Lawrenz - Perkins Coie LLP
  • Rhys Lawson - Christensen O’Connor Johnson Kindness PLLC
  • Shoko I Leek - Seed Intellectual Property Law Group LLP
  • Alan Minsk - Lane Powell PC
  • Kevan L Morgan - Seed Intellectual Property Law Group LLP
  • Jerald E Nagae - Christensen O’Connor Johnson Kindness PLLC
  • Brett Nelson - Lee & Hayes, PC
  • Rob Peck - Lee & Hayes, PC
  • Jeffrey C Pepe - Seed Intellectual Property Law Group LLP
  • Emily C Peyser - Christensen O’Connor Johnson Kindness PLLC
  • Maurice Pirio - Perkins Coie LLP
  • Aaron Poledna - Perkins Coie LLP
  • Brooke W Quist - Seed Intellectual Property Law Group LLP
  • Michael Rosato - Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati
  • Stephen J Rosenman - Seed Intellectual Property Law Group LLP
  • Jeffrey M Sakoi - Seed Intellectual Property Law Group LLP
  • Melanie Seelig - Knobbe Martens
  • Brandon C Stallman - Christensen O’Connor Johnson Kindness PLLC
  • Michael D Stein - Baker & Hostetler LLP
  • Michael Swope - Baker & Hostetler LLP
  • Samuel E Webb - Seed Intellectual Property Law Group LLP
  • John M Wechkin - Perkins Coie LLP
  • C Rachal Winger - Lee & Hayes, PC

Individuals: transactions

  • Maria Anderson - Knobbe Martens
  • Stephen C Bishop - Perkins Coie LLP
  • Neil P Calvin - The Law Offices of Neil P Calvin PLLC
  • David V Carlson - Seed Intellectual Property Law Group LLP
  • Christopher Daley-Watson - Perkins Coie LLP
  • John D Denkenberger - Christensen O’Connor Johnson Kindness PLLC
  • Bart Eppenauer - Shook Hardy & Bacon LLP 
  • Larry Harris - Athorus PLLC
  • Jerald E Nagae - Christensen O’Connor Johnson Kindness PLLC
  • Paul T Parker - Perkins Coie LLP
  • Jeffrey C Pepe - Seed Intellectual Property Law Group LLP
  • Patrick Santos - Han Santos PLLC
  • Michael Swope - Baker & Hostetler LLP
  • Mauricio Uribe - Knobbe Martens
  • Greg Wrenn - Pragmatica Law LLP