Intellectual Property

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Kirkland's Intellectual Property Law Practice is one of the oldest such practices in a full-service firm in the country, having been an integral part of Kirkland since 1925. Located in the Firm's Chicago, London, Los Angeles, New York, Palo Alto, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. offices, Kirkland has more than 240 intellectual property lawyers who are experienced in a variety of technical disciplines and registered to practice before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Approximately 75 percent of the lawyers are engineers and scientists trained with degrees and professional backgrounds in technical areas.

Kirkland was named Law Firm of the Year” in Litigation – Intellectual Property in U.S. News and World Report, Best Lawyers ®’ 2017 “Best Law Firms” rankings. Since 2012, Kirkland has received Tier I rankings in the areas of Litigation – Intellectual Property, Litigation – Patent, Patent Law and Technology Law. In Chambers Global 2016, Kirkland received a first-tier ranking in the United States in the "Intellectual Property: Patent" category. In Chambers USA 2016, Kirkland received a national first-tier ranking for intellectual property for the 10th consecutive year. Chambers & Partners also honored Kirkland as “Intellectual Property Firm of the Year” at its Chambers USA Awards 2016 ceremony. According to Chambers & Partners, Kirkland has “one of the country's strongest patent litigation practices, with expertise in handling high-stakes litigation involving a wide variety of technologies.” The Legal 500 U.S. 2015 said, “Kirkland & Ellis LLP is ‘a powerhouse for IP litigation – a top choice for a client that absolutely must win.’” In Corporate Counsel's 2015 patent litigation survey, Kirkland ranked as one of the top ten firms for defense cases filed in 2014. Kirkland also ranked as one of the top ten busiest firms overall. In addition, Kirkland was selected as 2016 "Law Firm of the Year" in the "Litigation - Patent" category, by U.S. News and World Report- Best Lawyers®, a Woodward White, Inc. publication. Kirkland was also honored as "U.S. International Trade Commission Firm of the Year" at Managing Intellectual Property’s 2016 North American IP Awards. Our highly-regarded Technology & IP Transactions Practice received a Tier 1 ranking in “Technology Law” from U.S. News and World Report- Best Lawyers® in 2016 and was a highly recommend transactions firm in the IAM Patent 1000 2016 – The World’s Leading Patent Professionals.

Kirkland has one of the most respected intellectual property litigation practices in the country, with particular experience in large-scale patent, copyright, trademark, trade secret misappropriation, and advertising matters. As client needs demand, the work of the group frequently extends to antitrust, securities/compliance, products liability, and appellate matters.

Our experience in venues where IP cases are most often litigated is extensive. Our intellectual property litigation attorneys try cases before juries, judges and arbitrators in venues across the country including state courts, district courts, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, the International Trade Commission and the Patent Trial and Appeal Board. We have been, and continue to be, consistently successful in those venues. 

Kirkland has one of the most active trial practices in the country. Our success rate at trial is among the best, with only a few of losses over the last 10 years despite handling some of the most challenging litigation cases in history. Our trial-oriented approach allows us to focus on trial strategy and themes from the beginning of a case. In our experience, while most cases settle before trial, strong trial-based case development often results in favorable settlements due to early pretrial victories and the impact on the adversary of knowing that we are ready and willing to try the case successfully if a reasonable settlement is not possible. This approach requires significant senior-level participation from the earliest phases of the case and close coordination with the in-house team.

Kirkland's trial-oriented approach is possible because the Firm has a deep bench of senior trial lawyers and an uncommon commitment to training its young lawyers. Lawyers in all of Kirkland's offices have recently tried successfully to verdict or judgment cases in a wide variety of business industries and technologies. The foundation of the Firm's litigation training is the Kirkland Institute for Trial Advocacy (KITA), where Kirkland senior partners act as instructors and train junior lawyers in every significant aspect of litigation. In addition, the Kirkland Institute of Patent Infringement Litigation Training (KIPIL) offers litigation training via monthly videoconferencing. The topics focus on specific issues that arise in patent infringement litigation. The training is taught by partners in the IP group who provide practice pointers regarding the topics in addition to substantive training and guidance.

Kirkland is active in providing the full spectrum of intellectual property and commercial law advice to clients. Broadly speaking, the transactional practice concentrates on domestic and international business transactions that are driven by the acquisition, use or divestiture of rights in intellectual property and technology.

For a diverse group of client industries, our lawyers handle matters which include patents, copyrights, trademarks, servicemarks, trade secrets, privacy, unfair competition, and antitrust elements. The intellectual property lawyers work closely with Kirkland's corporate, venture capital, and tax lawyers on mergers, acquisitions, leveraged buyouts, and venture capital investments to identify and evaluate the intellectual property rights and technology involved, and to structure the protection of those assets.

Our practice in this area involves constructing and reviewing contracts including joint ventures and strategic alliances, outsourcing, product development, contract manufacturing, franchising, licensing, and distribution arrangements across a broad spectrum of technologies. Kirkland's intellectual property practice includes counseling clients in all aspects of intellectual property acquisition, transfer, protection, and enforcement, both domestic and foreign, including related issues such as U.S. and EU antitrust concerns. A considerable amount of this counseling involves validity, infringement, and enforceability analyses. In this regard, the Firm not only prepares formal opinions but also prepares procedures and guidelines to identify potential problems during the product development cycle. As part of these activities, Kirkland counsels clients on the nuances of the attorney client privilege and work product doctrines in intellectual property litigation to ensure maximum protection and to avoid inadvertent waiver. Additionally, our lawyers have significant experience counseling clients on transactions and litigation relating to Internet and e-commerce matters.

The cornerstone of the Firm's transactional training program is the Kirkland Institute of Corporate Practice (KICP). The KICP training sessions are led by the Firm's senior transactional partners. This training program extensively covers transaction-related topics, such as the structuring of complex transactions, new business formations, mergers, acquisitions, leveraged buyouts, contested takeovers and fund formations. In addition, the KTECH program offers specific training on issues in intellectual property and technology transactions.

As an integral part of a large international firm, Kirkland's intellectual property practice realizes extensive economies of scale and benefits from enhanced technical and legal resources. Kirkland emphasizes quality in every aspect of legal practice. This emphasis is demonstrated by the Firm's recruiting the finest law students in the country, providing continuing training of lawyers at its own expense, and requiring direct partner involvement to assure that Kirkland's work product reflects the skill and judgment of our most experienced lawyers.

© 2017 Kirkland & Ellis LLP