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America's Leading Lawyers for Business 2007: Intellectual Property

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' 2007 review of national legal talent in the area of "Intellectual Property," our Firm and our lawyers are listed among the best in the country.

Chambers' comments:

National Ranking: 1

The Firm: This team of 240 lawyers firmwide is “at the top of the IP tree” and has attracted a sizable share of the market. It is well known for patent litigation and trademark work, where it acts for a number of clients in the electronics and pharmaceuticals area. The firm attracts both able young associates and high-profile work with a “nucleus of talented litigators.” Clients keep returning to the firm as a result of its customer-focused service and competitive billing rates. Bob Krupka has met with “tremendous success,” according to interviewees. He is credited with a “highly client-oriented” approach that is deemed “second to none.” Clients say John Desmarais “somehow manages to win cases he might not at first seem to deserve to.” Special praise was reserved for Desmarais’ patent litigation skills.

California Ranking: 1

The Firm: Kirkland & Ellis moves up into the top tier of the tables following praise from clients for the team’s “superb depth and strength” as well as its ability to “hire only incredibly gifted people to add to its IP team.” The firm is renowned for its “supreme” litigation and trial expertise and handles a significant share of the market’s IP disputes. Kirkland & Ellis was successful on behalf of client Apple against Creative Technology and Creative Labs in a patent infringement battle that threatened Apple’s market-leading iPods. In the ITC case SigmaTel v Actions Semiconductor, involving two world leaders in MP3 controller technology, the firm achieved a favorable result for SigmaTel. The group’s strength in numbers and the talent of the team did not go unnoticed in ConnecTel v Cisco Systems, where it defended Cisco in a patent infringement suit brought by ConnecTel.

The Lawyers: “National treasure” Robert Krupka is “one of the grand names in this business.” Clients adore the way he makes things happen, “watching the detail while still maintaining the big picture.” Interviewees could not praise him highly enough, saying that “despite his fame in this area, he still gets his hands dirty and does not delegate.”

Clients/Work Highlights: Cisco Systems; SigmaTel; IGT and Action Gaming; Shuffle Master and Apple.

Illinois Ranking: 1

The Firm: This litigation firm “does an excellent job” conducting trials of trademark, copy infringement and trade secret misappropriation claims in both federal and state courts. However, the team’s greatest strength is widely acknowledged to be its work in patent litigation, where it ranks “among the very best” and possesses an enviable track record of success. It has won patent jury cases involving a range of matters, from medical devices and tractor components to luxury leather goods. In the words of one interviewee: “Where there’s high stakes and big-ticket patent litigation, you’ll find Kirkland & Ellis.”

The Lawyers: “Articulate and tenacious,” James Amend helped to found the firm’s IP department and has extensive experience litigating and counseling in IP matters. Particularly skilled in trying patent infringement cases across a variety of industries, peers hold him in high regard and describe him as “one hell of a lawyer.” “First-rate” William Streff enjoys a reputation as a “bright, precise lawyer who knows what he’s doing in the courtroom.” With a background in mechanical engineering and computer programming, he is well equipped to represent clients in the acquisition, development, licensing and litigation of computer hardware, software and systems. His practice also covers semiconductor processing technology, telecommunications and television systems.

Clients/Work Highlights: The firm recently triumphed for Konica Minolta Photo Imaging in a bet-the-product case. It also represented Kraft Pizza in a trademark infringement claim and recently had the victory affirmed by the US Court of Appeals. Other clients include 3M; Cisco Systems; ConocoPhillips; Agere Systems; Samsung; Sturman Industries; Third Wave Technologies and Research In Motion.

New York Ranking: 1 (Intellectual Property: Patent)

The Firm: Firmly cemented as one of the leading IP firms, this “strong and stable litigation practice has outstanding high-quality trial lawyers.” It impresses peers and clients alike because it is “a real robust product.” One source even went as far as to say: “I have never seen a better team of attorneys in my many years of practice.” The lawyers are what make this firm stand out: “They work effectively as a team, maintaining perspective and sticking to the strategy, leaving clients well taken care of.” Considered “the go-to firm when litigation is imminent and the stakes are high,” this team is acknowledged as “one of the toughest to come up against, with an extraordinary track record of winning.” The group makes an impact through its “knowledge of the law and science as well as the clear manner in which it presents this in court.” It has a particular niche representing the branded side and has been “very prominent in the past year representing pharmaceutical companies.” It successfully protected Forest Laboratories and Lundbeck and their drug Lexapro from three generic drug companies. It acted for Boston Scientific against Johnson & Johnson, which tried to obtain an injunction on the launch of its Taxus Express cardiovascular stent. On branding, it achieved a victory for Cadbury Adams USA against Wrigley and fought over the rights to the Hermes Kelly Bag and Playboy’s cable programming. It continued to act for Apple relating to iPod and iTunes. For electronics, it defended patents for Infineon Technologies against Rambus and represented SAMSUNG in a court battle against Broadcom in reference to the use of Qualcomm chips on high-speed mobile phones.

The Lawyers: A former federal prosecutor, and “extremely tough but with a fair demeanor,” John Desmarais “has been on both sides so knows his way round a courtroom.” He “gets into the facts of a case, has impressive strategic skills and is undisputedly one of the top in patent cases.” Clients enthused over the “excellent litigation track record” that makes him one of the more prominent figures. Recognized for his “outstanding work,” Gerald Flattmann is highlighted for being “one of the younger but most insightful hard-working litigators, with great instincts and who knows the business.” Another up-and-comer is “professional” Peter Armenio, formerly at Fitzpatrick, Cella, Harper & Scinto, who “can digest large volumes of information quickly and present clear recommendations to his clients.” Praised for his “level-headed demeanor in court,” he is “well versed and able to maintain perspective, while watching out for important issues.” Clients respected that he “can also be very aggressive with opposing counsel as the situation dictates, and is highly effective in settlement negotiations.”

Clients/Work Highlights: Agere Systems; BASF; Boston Scientific; Cisco Systems; Forest Laboratories; Hermès; Lucent Technologies; MedPointe Healthcare; Micron; Schering-Plough; Siemens; Tyco Healthcare and Xerox.

District of Columbia Ranking: 4

The Firm: Although the Washington, DC office of this national firm is perceived as weaker than its New York or Chicago counterparts, it is still a hefty presence in the state. The strength of its offering is illustrated by its successful defence of Siemens in a patent infringement suit. The case involved Siemen’s Advanced Flat Sorting Machine and Next Generation Flat Sorting Machine, used by the US Postal Service. The team argued the case before the federal court on behalf of Siemens and its co-defendants, the US Postal Service and Northrop Grumman. The court upheld the summary judgment granted to the defendants in an earlier hearing in the US Federal Claims Court. Litigation is the forte of the IP department, but it is also highly respected for its knowledge of trademark law.

The Lawyers: Daniel Attridge and Edward Donovan are key contacts of the department.

Clients/Work Highlights: The firm’s most active clients include Siemens; B Braun Medical; Dow Chemical; Honeywell International; Merisant and Samsung. The team successfully defended Barr Laboratories in a patent infringement case concerning Barr’s desmopressin acetate oral tablets.

Reprinted with permission from Chambers USA, America’s Leading Lawyers for Business 2007 -