Alston & Bird LLP

IAM Research

The Patent 1000 focuses exclusively on patent practice and has firmly established itself as the definitive 'go-to' resource for those seeking world-class legal patent expertise.

Gold - Firms

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.”

Gold - Firms

Alston & Bird maintains a sterling reputation in patent prosecution and litigation, while the duality of its expertise also gives it a distinct advantage in the post-grant space. The well-roundedness of its national offering is reflected at the local level in North Carolina: its Charlotte office plays host to top prosecutors Guy Gosnell and Brian Ellsworth; leading litigators Michael Connor, Bruce Rose and Benjamin Pleune; and post-grant ace Christopher Douglas. Electrical and computer science group captain Gosnell has a pristine track record obtaining broad and robust patent protection; and through his cutting-edge work in the telecommunications space, has cultivated a rare facility for SEPs. Collaborating with colleagues in trademarks and designs, contractual law and litigation, he provides fulsome support to in-house teams. Ellsworth co-chairs the patent group and is an advanced mechanical and electrical technologies specialist who draws on keen analytical skills and commercial thinking to pinpoint patent value and extract it in a multitude of ways. Michael Connor is the most senior trial lawyer on deck and a former leader of the firm’s IP litigation group. He kick-started 2020 with a win for Ford against the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Ethanol Boosting Systems in a suit implicating Ford’s EcoBoost engines; efforts in this regard are ongoing, with Ford having successfully instituted three inter partes reviews and the plaintiffs having filed a new suit against Ford on additional patents. Rose and Pleune, meanwhile, have been busy at the ITC handling a complaint on behalf of Honeywell asserting infringement of seven US patents relating to bar code readers and scanners, which settled in early 2020 alongside a parallel district court action; coordinating with foreign counsel in the Netherlands and Germany, they also filed several additional actions in Europe, which are ongoing. This matter is a great example of their ability to lead major campaigns. Douglas – newly ranked in the IAM Patent 1000 US national post-grant table this year – is working with Connor on the Ford litigation and supporting other colleagues in a dispute between client Dell and Alacritech involving data processing and internet protocol patents.

Bronze - Firms: litigation

Alston & Bird puts wide-ranging patent expertise at the fingertips of clients: when they need prosecution services, it calls to action advanced technical specialists with an affinity for IP value creation; and when they need to enforce patent rights or defend them against commercial competitors, it deploys seasoned litigators to the battlefield. One such is trial lawyer Natalie Clayton, who provides superb captaincy to the life sciences patent litigation group. She has extensively represented Merial (now Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health) in the International Court of Arbitration, district courts and the PTAB. Wherever a case takes her, she gets the job done, leveraging sparkling advocacy skills and profound patent and regulatory know-how.

Get unlimited access to all IAM content