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.
Bronze - Firms: litigation
Debuting in the Texas rankings this year, Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton is a hard-hitting patent litigation outfit with several seasoned advocates stationed in Dallas. Chief among them is Steven Schortgen, who is highlighted by sources as being “excellent on his feet in court” and a “deeply knowledgeable patent lawyer who runs a great team”. He recently secured a significant victory for Peloton Interactive against Villency Design Group, which included a $5.5 million attorneys’ fees award plus interest. By way of background, VDG was hired to design, develop and make aspects of Peloton’s exercise bike but then secretly acquired a patent to sue Peloton through a non-practising entity it had formed, despite agreements to produce a non-infringing proprietary indoor bike – which required VDG to defend Peloton in the event of any patent infringement claims arising. Schortgen is backed up by Jennifer Klein Ayers, an up-and-coming partner and an “outstanding communicator who does a terrific job taking charge of the day-to-day aspects of litigation”. In June 2022, the firm opened its Houston office and unveiled John Keville as its new signing; the former Winston & Strawn partner is a gold-ranked trial lawyer.
Silver - Firms: litigation
Recommended - Firms: prosecution
Praise abounds for the patent litigators at Sheppard Mullin: “Harper Batts and Chris Ponder make an excellent litigation team and are extremely detail-oriented and technically savvy lawyers. They are top notch at client communications, they make in-house counsel’s life much easier and they obtain good results in an organised, timely and focused fashion.” “Harper and Chris have extensive post-grant experience and are deeply knowledgeable on the PTAB’s intricate procedural rules and highly expert on the strategic interplay between inter partes reviews and district court litigation.” They recently met with success at the PTAB on behalf of Wargaming Group, which was sued by non-practising entity Game and Technology Company; they secured a final written decision finding all challenged claims unpatentable, which was upheld by the Federal Circuit, subsequent to which the district court in which the case was first filed awarded Wargaming the full amount of attorneys’ fees sought. Notably, Blizzard filed an inter partes review against the same patent, but the PTAB declined to institute it. Stephen Korniczky and Martin Bader also link up to great effect and did so recently for Continental Automotive Systems in a high-profile patent and antitrust suit against Avanci, which involves complex FRAND licensing issues – a subject on which Sheppard Mullin has carved out a reputation for authoritative expertise. “Steve stands out for his deep understanding of standard essential patents, excellent litigation record and openness and transparency. A first-class lead trial lawyer with great courtroom presence, he remains calm in the most stressful situations.” “Martin has a keen analytical mind and delivers rich insight on strategies for ITC, PTAB and district court cases. He’s very astute in leveraging his firm’s resources to ensure the successful navigation of whatever legal issues his clients bring to him.” Some of those resources can be found in an accomplished prosecution group, central to which is James Soong, who has ample experience engaging in IP disputes. His focus, however, is on strategic counselling, which he undertakes for a colourful catalogue of followers including Facebook and Silicon Valley start-up Baobab Studios, an award-winning interactive animation studio. His counterpart on the life sciences side is Lorna Tanner, who has an outstanding ability to procure highly valuable and defensible patents. She takes care of the portfolio of Plexxikon, whose patents were recently the subject of a litigation in which the jury confirmed the validity of the patents and awarded substantial damages to the company.