Ballard Spahr 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.

Silver - Firms

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

Recommended - Firms: prosecution

Recommended in the IAM Patent 1000’s New York rankings for the first time this year, Ballard Spahr has a star practitioner in the city in Kenneth Sonnenfeld, a pharmacology PhD with decades of experience at the cutting edge of development in the life sciences. Reflecting on its relationship with him, one client comments: “We have had the pleasure of working with Ken for many years, during which he has unequivocally become our most trusted source for IP advice. Ken understands our business and risk tolerance, and has always ensured his advice is centred on the things that are most relevant and important to us. He has never failed to deliver on an assignment in a timely manner or with less than impeccable quality work. We treasure our relationship with him.” A Swiss Army knife of a practitioner – he is recommended on all three practice area tables in the guide – he provides high-calibre support on prosecution, licensing and disputes matters. He came on board from King & Spalding in January 2020 alongside Margaret Brivanlou, a molecular biology PhD who also has the magic touch when it comes to counselling on strategy and extracting IP value. They have fitted in well at a firm that prioritises a well-rounded, commercially tuned patent service.

Recommended - Firms: prosecution

Silver - Firms: litigation

Ballard Spahr’s IAM Patent 1000 coverage has significantly increased for the 2021 edition: the firm has several new individuals listed across multiple offices and makes debut appearances in the Arizona, New York and Pennsylvania rankings, reflecting its strength in depth and comprehensive patent service. When it comes to road mapping patent procurement, monetisation and enforcement strategies, Ballard Spahr has a well-developed toolkit. This extended coverage is also a tribute to the stewardship of Philly-based IP chair Lynn Rzonca, an agile patent and brands sage with finely cultivated contentious and non-contentious skills. She serves as lead outside counsel to Exelon Corporation, for which she manages a great many IP activities. By her side on this brief is John Chionchio, a pure-play patent lawyer who helms the mechanical and medical technologies team. He provides a tip-top service to several prestigious companies, including Smith & Wesson, for which he has obtained myriad valuable patents. Robert Baron is the other local star and an anchor of the IP litigation practice. The dynamic trial lawyer “skilfully handles complex issues, communicates well with business leadership and provides smart, efficient counsel”.

Recommended - Firms

Ballard Spahr has trademarked the term PATENTSCAPE, the brand under which it provides its patent services, signalling its enduring commitment to assisting clients through all phases of the innovative product lifecycle. The Philadelphia-based AmLaw 100 firm boasts technical expertise in abundance, with many of its 23 patent attorneys holding doctoral and other advanced degrees; but it is a laser focus on the business of intellectual property that really gives it an edge. Commercial considerations are likewise the guiding light for the firm’s litigators, such as Brian LaCorte, who keeps the big picture front and centre when it comes to setting case strategy. A seasoned patent and trademark litigator who has scored wins in forums throughout the country, La Corte flies Ballard Spahr’s flag high in Phoenix, while also helping to bolster its sterling national reputation.

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