David J Kappos

Ranked in United States: New York
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.

Highly recommended - Individuals: transactions

Scarcely rivalled for litigation and transactional representation in New York, Cravath is entrusted with handling the most sophisticated and business-critical IP matters for some of the biggest industry names. Anchoring the transactional side of the practice are David Kappos and IAM Patent 1000 newcomer Sasha Rosenthal-Larrea. Few come close to Kappos when it comes to handling IP-related transactions. The pre-eminent patent lawyer has a stellar reputation in the market and continues to provide expert support to world-leading entities. Rosenthal-Larrea tackles her clients’ most complex issues, whether that be in negotiating licensing deals or handling the data privacy aspects of corporate transactions. She has been busy supporting Unilever with its acquisition of a majority stake in Nutrafol. The key practitioners on the litigation side are Sharonmoyee Goswami, David Marriott, Keith Hummel and Evan Chesler. “Sharonmoyee provides excellent advice on both the legal and business aspects of patent issues. She develops amazing strategies and executes them with precision.” “David is one of the best trial attorneys in the US and is incredibly skilled at distilling complex issues into simple concepts for a judge or jury. His cross-examinations are surgical and devastating, his oral advocacy is unmatched, he thinks five steps ahead of the opposing side and consistently outlawyers them. David, along with others at Cravath, is the go-to lawyer for high-stakes litigation.” “Keith is a master patent attorney”, who represents top technology and life sciences companies in high-stakes disputes. He recently secured a victory at the PTAB on behalf of medical device patron Abiomed. Chesler is an esteemed litigator who has appeared in state and federal courts all over the country during his glittering career.

David J Kappos's Profile

David J Kappos is co-chair of Cravath’s IP practice. He is widely recognised as one of the world’s foremost leaders in the field of intellectual property, including IP management and strategy, the development of global IP norms, laws and practices, as well as commercialisation and enforcement of innovation-based assets.

From 2009 to 2013, Mr Kappos served as under secretary of commerce and director of the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). In that role, he advised the president, the secretary of commerce and the administration on IP policy matters. As director of the USPTO, he led the agency in dramatically re-engineering its entire management and operational systems, as well as its engagement with the global innovation community. He was instrumental in achieving the greatest legislative reform of the US patent system in generations through passage and implementation of the Leahy‑Smith America Invents Act, signed into law by President Obama in September 2011.

Prior to leading the USPTO, Mr Kappos held several executive posts in the legal department of IBM, including litigation counsel, Asia Pacific IP counsel and, from 2003 to 2009, vice president and chief IP lawyer responsible for all patent, trademark, copyright and trade secret matters worldwide.

Mr Kappos has received numerous accolades for his contributions to the field of intellectual property, including being named one of the "Top 25 Icons of IP" by Law360, one of the "50 Most Influential People in IP" by Managing Intellectual Property, one of the "Top 50 IP Trailblazers and Pioneers" and one of the "100 Most Influential Lawyers in America" by The National Law Journal and being inducted into the IP Hall of Fame by IAM in 2012.

Mr Kappos received a BS summa cum laude in electrical and computer engineering from the University of California, Davis in 1983 and a JD from the University of California, Berkeley in 1990.


Firm Profile

Cravath has been known as one of the premier US law firms for over two centuries. Each of its practices is highly regarded, and its lawyers are recognised around the world for their commitment to the representation of their clients’ interests.

Intellectual property is one of Cravath’s core practice areas and a cornerstone of Cravath’s reputation as the firm of choice for clients with respect to their most challenging legal issues, most significant business transactions and most critical disputes. In the 19th century, the firm handled the telegraph patent litigation for Samuel Morse and mechanical reaper patent matters for Cyrus McCormick. Today, the firm’s expertise covers the entire innovation marketplace, spanning the consumer products, energy, healthcare, media and entertainment, pharmaceuticals, retail, technology and telecommunications industries, among others. Cravath also advises on matters in connection with emerging technologies, including artificial intelligence, blockchain and fintech, as well as data security and privacy issues.

Cravath’s strength in intellectual property stems in part from the firm’s unique culture. Cravath’s lawyers are trained as generalists and, over time, as partners, many focus on and deepen their expertise in specific areas. As a result, Cravath has a dedicated team of IP practitioners with an extensive understanding of patent and other issues, as well as experience in a broad range of trial and transactional work, which enables them to devise creative and commercially practicable solutions to complex problems. Cravath’s governance as a true partnership ensures that all clients receive the benefit of the firm’s overall knowledge, expertise and experience.

Corporate IP practice

Cravath has a broad-based corporate IP practice representing clients ranging from early-stage start-ups to global companies in contexts across the full spectrum of IP disciplines, technologies and jurisdictions. Its lawyers work hand in glove with the firm’s premier M&A and financing teams to handle the many IP issues that arise in complex transactions, including issues relating to patents, trademarks, copyright, data, trade secrets, privacy and information security. In addition, Cravath provides strategic counselling, review and analysis in developing and managing IP portfolios, commercialising innovation-based assets and optimising IP rights to ensure its clients are maximising value from their intellectual property in the United States and in non-US markets.

Litigation IP practice

Representing both plaintiffs and defendants at the trial level, on appeal, in investigations or in an advisory capacity, Cravath’s litigators are adept at handling a wide variety of matters involving patents, trade secrets, copyright and trademarks, as well as the commercial litigation that frequently arises from IP matters, such as antitrust and breach of licence claims. Whatever the subject matter at issue, the firm’s litigators bring to each case a trial lawyer’s courtroom perspective and deep trial expertise in a variety of matters. As a result, clients turn to Cravath to protect them from infringement of their most important intellectual property or to defend valuable products against claims of infringement. Cravath has supervised and coordinated IP disputes that span the entire globe. The firm regularly advises on national and worldwide IP strategy and the identification of patents and other assets that can be used effectively for offensive or defensive purposes. Its practice also includes participation in inter partes review matters.

International clients

Cravath regularly advises clients based outside the United States on a wide range of transactions, including cross-border mergers and acquisitions, international capital markets and bank financings, general corporate and Securities and Exchange Commission compliance matters. Its lawyers also handle US litigation, international arbitrations and investigations for non-US clients, and plan, coordinate and supervise multinational proceedings. The firm works closely with a network of leading law firms in major international markets, each of which has demonstrated a commitment to achieving the same high standards that clients expect from Cravath.

Cravath and its lawyers have been recognised as leaders in intellectual property by numerous industry publications, including Chambers USA, Chambers Global, The Legal 500 US, Benchmark Litigation, The Best Lawyers in America, Law360, Managing Intellectual Property, U.S. News-Best Lawyers’ Best Law Firms and IAM.

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