In this inaugural survey, Intellectual Asset Management magazine (IAM) combined an in-depth review of key IP patent issues around the world with research on leading patent litigation lawyers in more than 20 major jurisdictions. Rankings are determined by telephone interviews with attorneys involved in patent litigation.
Kirkland & Ellis ranked in IAM's "Nationwide" category, as well as in four individual jurisdictions. Nine Kirkland attorneys are profiled as leaders in their field.
United States: Nationwide
Firm Ranking: Tier 1
United States: Illinois
Firm Ranking: Tier 1
Commentary: International powerhouse Kirkland & Ellis always competes for the biggest business; its "fine trial lawyers and strong, deep patent litigation capability" mean that "a first-class job is guaranteed." A key feature is the array of technical expertise on offer; the firm has litigated high-stakes cases involving all manner of technologies, from electrical inventions to biological sciences and mechanical devices. With approximately 95 IP attorneys in Chicago, trial lawyers (many of whom have technical backgrounds themselves) can be teamed up with experts in the particular technology relevant to any given case. In addition to its outstanding federal district court trial expertise, the firm has possibly the widest ITC expertise in the region. "True leader and luminary trial lawyer" Ken Adamo has recently joined the firm from Jones Day. He is "sharp and extremely effective both in federal district court litigation and before the ITC." Russell E. Levine has decades of trial experience under his belt – "for the most important cases, he is one of the leading figures in Chicago and nationally," with "the finest representation." He recently scored a significant victory for Tyco Electronics in the defence of a complex patent infringement suit filed by ADC Telecommunications, one of its chief competitors in the fibre-optic communications sector. The firm's bench also includes Mark Pals, an "incredibly smart biotech and pharmaceutical patent litigator." William Streff is one of the group's most senior experts; with a practice incorporating patent litigation, counseling and IP transactions, "he brings years and years of experience to the table and is one of the most valuable members of the group."
United States: New York
Firm Ranking: Tier 2
Commentary: Kirkland & Ellis's national reputation for excellence in the field of patent litigation remains rock solid, with strength in depth carrying it through recent attrition. It is one of the few general service firms to make patent litigation a central pillar. Combining the strengths of an IP boutique with the resources of a major international full-service outfit, there is no industry sector or area of technology where this firm lacks a presence. It has sustained a remarkable breadth of expertise and experience over the years – recent successes include victories in the electronics sector, acting for clients such as Cisco Systems and Samsung, which recently prevailed before the ITC in a dispute with flash memory-chip maker Spansion. Greg Arovas, who played a lead role in the case, is "an excellent lawyer who has really stepped up to the mark" following the departure of John Desmarais. Also taking over the reins is Steven Cherny, who has a wealth of first-chair trial experience and is "always one of the smartest guys in the room" who "does a great job of communicating in court." Overall, commentators note that "Kirkland & Ellis is a quality, not quantity-oriented firm, and it is very solicitous of the high standards of its work." In spite of recent high-profile departures, it comes more than highly recommended.
United States: California
Firm Ranking: Tier 2
Commentary: "A longstanding and fierce competitor," Kirkland & Ellis is a familiar courtroom presence, with a seven-partner team handling a broad range of work. The "highly visible" Robert Krupka is "just terrific" and feared by his opponents thanks to a string of high-profile victories; he recently led Teva Women's Health to its first patent litigation victory, winning summary judgment against Watson Laboratories in the US District Court for the District of Nevada. He also acted for plaintiffs Mallinckrodt and Liebel-Flarsheim against E-ZEM and ACIST Medical Systems in a jury trial in the Eastern District of Texas.
United States: Washington, D.C.
Firm Ranking: Tier 3
Commentary: This prominent national firm's Washington DC IP group maintains a core focus on patent litigation and is seamlessly integrated with teams throughout the firm's network, most notably in Chicago and New York. "Aggressive and effective at trial", the firm focuses on high-stakes patent litigation involving almost any type of technology, with broad technical expertise a real strength. The team in Washington DC has an active ITC practice and is acting on behalf of Apple in the ongoing smart phone wars taking place in this forum. The firm has gained a competitive advantage through its experience in some of the biggest cases to hit the market – when it comes to patent litigation with national significance, few firms can compete. Gregg LoCascio is one of the group's senior litigators, with a strong track record of success in complex patent litigation, including winning a US$52.3 million damages award for Siemens Medical Systems in a patent infringement suit. He acts primarily for large industrial conglomerates and is adept at handling many different types of technology. Edward Donovan, who has litigated cases in federal district courts across the country involving telecommunications, information technology and e-commerce, also comes highly recommended.