Chambers & Partners has compiled their independent and objective list of America's Leading Lawyers for Business based on comments gathered from thousands of interviews with clients and lawyers from Maine to Hawaii. This guide -- which is designed to reflect market opinion -- contains a view of the firms and attorneys who are considered leaders in their field.
In Chambers' 2005 review of national legal talent in the area of "Intellectual Property," our Firm and our lawyers are listed among the best in the country.
Illinois Ranking: 1
The Firm: Amid rivalry between boutiques and general practice firms, the Chicago operation of this national powerhouse manages to win fans on both sides of the divide. One of the original groups to branch into IP, rivals view its now "substantial team" as "real competition." It combines understanding of IP law, depth of experience, manpower and an impressive skill set. The firm thereby "does a great job of institutionalizing clients" and is ideally placed to handle complicated cases, particularly in the patent area. It offers considerable strengths in biotech, computer software architecture, semiconductor and circuitry, and medical device arenas. The team also has significant experience of acting for gaming machine manufacturers. Highlights have included bringing an action on behalf of Jays Foods to prevent Frito-Lay's campaign in which they claimed that "Chicago prefers the taste of Lay's 'classic' chips over Jay's 'unflavored' chips," allegedly based on consumer taste tests. The team obtained a temporary restraining order, requiring Frito-Lay to remove and stop all advertising relating to this claim, and the case eventually settled. The team also acted for Avid Identification Systems in a patent infringement and false advertising case. Following a summary judgment victory where the defendants were found to have infringed, a settlement was reached.
The Lawyers: Patent litigator William Streff is a long-standing presence in the marketplace, with special expertise pertaining to internal combustion engines. His other focus areas include representing technology companies and litigation related to semiconductor processing and circuitry patents. Fellow statesman of the IP bar and rainmaker James Amend is an "extraordinarily intelligent lawyer," researchers were told.
The Clients: 3M; Agere Systems; Apple; Boston Scientific; Infineon Technologies; International Game Technologies; Kubota Tractor; Lucent Technologies; Motorola; International Truck and Engine; Siemens and Whirlpool.
New York Ranking: 1
The Firm: The litigation all-rounder inevitably stretches its tentacles to the IP sector, having established an "excellent and very cost-effective" operation anchored by its instinct for the jugular. Ascending in the ranks this year, the team has demonstrated proficiency not only as a stable of talented IP litigators but also as trial lawyers. "Both older and younger lawyers there are extremely proficient," clients said. "They are really a great bunch across the board." Though its high points no doubt involve dispute resolution, the firm also supports clients on the transaction front. Internet and e-commerce matters all figure prominently in its diet, and the team further benefits from a largely industrial client base globally. Overseas clients also rate the team's abilities: "They really helped us to get a grip on US IP culture."
The Lawyers: John Desmarais enjoys an outstanding reputation as a hard-nosed warrior with "great legal acumen," which combines with his practicality to deliver success for his clients. "He is the best of the best," they said, and added: "He's a very effective IP lawyer." His background in chemical engineering has also nurtured his practice.
The Clients: Hermes International, Honeywell Aerospace, Alcon Laboratories and Siemens.
California Ranking: 2
The Firm: Kirkland & Ellis fields about 200 IP lawyers across its network, many of them in Los Angeles and San Francisco. The firm was praised to researchers for the quality of its "knowledgeable and gifted" lawyers and their "tremendous span of proficiency." They handle a wide range of IP disputes and counseling, but the group was particularly recommended for its "fabulous trial work" and its involvement in some of the "most significant matters in the field." In recent years it has taken part in litigation in a wide variety of areas, ranging from DNA arrays to windshields and semiconductors to label designs. The team played a role in one of the firm's highlights of the year, Amazon's summary judgment in a patent infringement case filed by IPXL Holdings.
The Lawyers: Bob Krupka heads the practice here and is widely considered to be "one of the foremost IP lawyers" in the country. According to interviewees, his position is based upon his "remarkable knowledge and great international connections" and his "skill at presenting a case in an understandable way, even if it is a complex high-tech case." One client even went so far as to describe him as the "best patent draftsman around."
The Clients: The firm's top-class client base includes: Honeywell; Motorola; Pioneer and Schering-Plough.
District of Columbia Ranking: 3
The Firm: This litigation supremo wields significant clout in the field of IP dispute resolution, deemed by clients as the destination for crucial, complex problems. More than 200 lawyers firmwide deal with IP-related litigation, transactions and related counseling. Clients said the firm is worth every dollar: "The lawyers are always extremely hardworking across the board." A significant development in its practice relates to the Internet and e-commerce, advising AOL Time Warner (now Time Warner) in the so-called Browser Wars action against Microsoft. At stake were antitrust issues involving PC operating systems.
The Lawyers: Eugene Assaf provides clients with "a great deal of attention to detail," advising not only on patents but also matters involving antitrust, trade secrets and defamation among others. His thorough approach is also suited to technically complex issues concerning customs and securities fraud.
The Clients: Cable & Computer Technology; Brown & Williamson Tobacco; Motorola and Dow Corning.
Reprinted with permission from Chambers USA, America’s Leading Lawyers for Business 2005 - www.chambersandpartners.com.