Chambers & Partners has compiled its 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' 2008 review of national legal talent in the area of "Intellectual Property," our Firm and our lawyers are listed among the best in the country.
National Ranking: Tier 1
The Firm: Members' "tremendous ability to work seamlessly across offices" garners Kirkland the business of clients seeking advice and representation in complex, multistate IP matters. While clients apportion most praise to the teams operating out of New York and Chicago, the team in Washington, DC is increasingly making its presence felt. It now houses 15 attorneys undertaking a range of patent, trademark and false advertising disputes. Members based in New York and Washington, DC joined forces to obtain a preliminary injunction in favor of GlaxoSmithKline that halted changes to patent prosecution regulations going into effect in November 2007. The firm's prowess in patent litigation prompted one peer to observe: "If you're up against them, you know you're in for a good battle." Interviewees heartily endorse John Desmarais' towering reputation in the contentious patent arena. Based in New York, his practice nevertheless takes him all over the USA. He combines a "masterful courtroom demeanor" with technical expertise and superlative strategic skill.
California Ranking: Tier 1
The Firm: Kirkland & Ellis is "a top-notch IP player" on a national basis, due to its "strong bench and amazing skill for recruiting young and talented attorneys." Its involvement on some of the most talked about matters is widely acknowledged, as is its "superior litigation and first-rate trial expertise." The team recently obtained three key summary judgment victories on behalf of client Shuffle Master in disputes involving technology for monitoring play at blackjack tables through the use of unobtrusive cameras. In Samuels v Boston Scientific, it advised client Boston Scientific against radiologist Dr Shaun Samuels' suit for patent infringement, trade secret misappropriation and various state tort claims relating to the Enovus AAA stent-graft. The case settled and the court dismissed the plaintiff's case with prejudice.
The Lawyers: Peers identify Robert Krupka as "a formidable adversary" with a highly desirable client roster, including "high-profile and extremely sophisticated names," according to sources. This outstanding trial lawyer is considered "the go-to guy for IP" because "he does an outstanding job every time."
Illinois Ranking: Tier 1
The Firm: The IP department of 110 attorneys at this international firm has a strong reputation as a "go-to patent litigation practice." The team is "always present on big cases," exemplified by its recent representation of Research In Motion in a three-year patent dispute with InPro. The group additionally acts for clients from a multitude of industries, including fashion, music, pharmaceutical, advertising and navigation systems, in copyright, trademark and product development matters.
The Lawyers: Expert James Amend has a solid reputation as a "professional and careful lawyer" who is "terrific and knowledgeable" on all patent infringement matters in the electronics, computer, automotive and chemical industries. William Streff has a niche practice representing Japanese clients and national companies in patent litigation involving semiconductors, computer systems, large servers and navigational systems for automobiles. He successfully defended DENSO in a patent infringement dispute with Siliconix over trench metal oxide semiconductor field effect transistors. Praised by clients as "an excellent patent litigator," the "very bright and effective" Russell Levine is a new addition to the tables this year. He acts for clients on infringement disputes over license agreements in front of the ITC.
Clients/Work Highlights: The team acted for North Atlantic Operating Company in a tobacco trademark dispute with Top Tobacco, in addition to representing Toyota Motor Sales in a patent infringement dispute with SpeedTrack.
Intellectual Property: Patent
New York Ranking: Tier 1
The Firm: This IP group impresses interviewees with its prowess in patent litigation, prompting one peer to observe: "If you're up against them, you know you're in for a tough battle." Notable among the firm's recent successes was winning a defense verdict on behalf of Charter Communications in a suit brought by patent licensing company Hybrid for $170 million in damages. This was only the third such verdict in the historically plaintiff-friendly Eastern District of Texas. With a reputation for "extremely smart lawyers," the group continues to attract heavyweight clients including Forest Laboratories, SAMSUNG and Cisco Systems. Collaborating with the Washington, DC team, it obtained in October 2007 a preliminary injunction on behalf of GlaxoSmithKline, which kept sweeping changes to patent prosecution regulations from going into effect on 1 November 2007.
The Lawyers: A "masterful courtroom demeanor" cements John Desmarais' position in the market. With a broad knowledge of patent issues, he offers clients a potent combination of technical expertise, superlative strategic skill and "an approach devoid of pretension." He led the charge in both the Charter Communications and GlaxoSmithKline matters. Peter Armenio has carved a niche for himself in the pharmaceutical and medical devices arena, greatly impressing peers. Equally well-versed in patent issues affecting these industries is Gerald Flattmann. He is respected for his ability to "go below the superficial to get the real point of a case."
District of Columbia Ranking: Tier 3
The Firm: Although the New York and Chicago offices are more high-profile, the Washington, DC office is expanding and now has a 15-attorney team equipped to deal with IP matters, particularly patent, trademark and false advertising litigation. "Its tremendous ability to work seamlessly across offices" is a huge benefit for clients. For example, the team collaborated with lawyers in the New York office when representing GlaxoSmithKline in a lawsuit against the USPTO on proposed changes to IP regulations. Lawyers receive praise for being "smart, hard-working and aggressive when necessary," and for the high levels of client service they provide. The firm works with many medical and electrical companies, including B. Braun Medical, Samsung Electronics, Siemens and Teva.
The Lawyers: Leading the group is Daniel Attridge, whom sources esteem for his "strong analytical skills and novel approach to difficult issues." He was lead counsel for Barr Laboratories in Abbreviated New Drug Application litigation, invalidating a branded competitor's patent and allowing Barr to enter the market. He is praised for "always keeping clients fully in the know." Described as "extremely bright," Edward Donovan debuts in the tables due to his "impressive strategic insights and ideas." He has a broad-ranging IP litigation practice.
Reprinted with permission from Chambers USA, America's Leading Lawyers for Business 2008 — www.chambersandpartners.com.