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Best Patent Litigators

As high technology and biotech boom, patent and intellectual property lawyers are in greater demand than ever before. Here are some of the sharpest.

By

Frank E. Scherkenbach, Fish & Richardson

617-521-7883,www.fr.com

With a booming national I.P. practice, Scherkenbach's firm last year handled 79 patent cases, more than any other U.S. firm. He's currently representing Callaway Golf against Acushnet, maker of the Titleist Pro V 1 golf ball, and has taken on computer software, semiconductor, and medical-device cases for clients like Microsoft and Google. Top patent litigators like Scherkenbach typically charge between $700 and $800 per hour.

Morgan Chu, Irell & Manella

310-203-7000,
www.irell.com

A stellar patent litigator known for his baby face, bow ties, and courteous manner, Chu brings in consistently big results, like a $120 million jury verdict against Microsoft on behalf of Stac Electronics in 1994, and a half-billion dollar verdict against biotech giant Genentech for the City of Hope Medical Center in 2002. Other clients include TiVo Inc. and Texas Instruments.

Matthew D. Powers, Weil, Gotshal & Manges

650-802-3200,
www.weil.com

Go to Powers, co-chair of Weil's 500-attorney litigation/regulatory department, with your toughest cases; he's known for winning the hard ones. For Intel, he won a summary judgment in a case seeking $8.2 billion in damages; he's currently representing Apple Computer in patent cases involving the MP3 technology of its iPod music player.

Kenneth R. Adamo, Jones Day

216-586-7120; 214-969-4856,
www.jonesday.com

Adam is co-chair of this firm's mammoth I.P. practice, with clients including Genencor, an enzyme manufacturer; Nokia; and American Honda. In 2005, he got a $40 million settlement for Sovereign Software against Amazon.com, for alleged infringements of e-commerce technology, just days before a trial was to begin.

John M. Desmarais, Kirkland & Ellis

212-446-4739,
www.kirkland.com

Desmarais cemented his reputation as a courtroom warrior in 2007, winning the largest jury verdict ever in a patent infringement case: a $1.5 billion award for Alcatel-Lucent against Microsoft. He also defended Charter Communications against $176 million in patent claims in Marshall, Texas, a venue favored by "patent trolls," companies set up purely to bring infringement cases.

Harold J. McElhinny, Morrison & Foerster

415-268-7265,
www.mofo.com

Co-chair of Morrison & Foerster's I.P. group, McElhinny is litigation counsel for EchoStar Communications, the satellite TV network, defending the company in several patent infringement cases. Known for independent judgment, McElhinny handles both trials and appeals: other clients include Doubleclick and the biotechnology company Chiron.

William F. Lee, WilmerHale

617-526-6556,
www.wilmerhale.com

The best known of Boston's I.P. lawyers, Lee won high-profile victories for Broadcom this summer, defending against infringement claims by Qualcomm; the judge even ordered Qualcomm to pay Broadcom's attorneys' fees. In another case, Lee won a $19.6 million jury verdict for Broadcom against Qualcomm; the judge then doubled the damages. Other clients include Procter & Gamble and Kodak.

Leora Ben-Ami, Kaye Scholer

212-836-7203,
www.kayescholer.com

Considered a rainmaker, Ben-Ami has an undergraduate degree in biochemistry. She has handled 10 cases each for biotech giant Genentech and medical-device maker Pfizer. In May 2006, Ben-Ami won a $62.5 million verdict for Ariad Pharmaceuticals against Eli Lilly for patents used in Lilly's osteoporosis drug Evista. Currently defending Hoffman-LaRoche against claims by Amgen.

Robert L. Baechtold, Fitzpatrick, Cella, Harper & Scinto

212-218-2213,
www.fitzpatrickcella.com

Baechtold heads pharma litigation at this boutique I.P. firm, which is known for representing brand-name drug companies against generics. At a trial in January 2007, he won a ruling for Sanofi-Aventis and Bristol-Myers, establishing a valid patent for Plavix, the blockbuster heart medication. Clients include AstraZeneca, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Merck, and Novartis.

Jeff G. Randall, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom

650-470-4580,
www.skadden.com

Currently defending eBay in a trial set to begin in late 2007, Randall was also on the team that won a victory before the U.S. Supreme Court last year, establishing that injunctions could not be presumed in patent cases. Well liked by clients, and known for hard work and diligence, Randall also represents Applied Materials, Genentech, and Intel.

 

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