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 approximately 230 intellectual property lawyers who are experienced in a variety of technical disciplines and registered to practice before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. More than 70 percent of the lawyers are engineers and scientists trained with degrees and professional backgrounds in technical areas.

Kirkland’s nationally-recognized Intellectual Property Practice 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 1 rankings in the areas of Litigation – Intellectual Property, Litigation – Patent, Patent Law and Technology Law. Additional praise for our Intellectual Property Practice includes:

  • Nationwide first-tier ranking in the "Intellectual Property" category in Chambers USA 2018 for the 12th consecutive year
  • Named “Intellectual Property Firm of the Year” at Chambers USA Awards 2016
  • Highly recommended transactions firm for the third consecutive year in IAM Patent 1000 2018 – The World’s Leading Patent Professionals

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 United States 2018 said, “‘Top-tier firm’ Kirkland & Ellis LLP belongs to the ‘cream of the crop,’ ‘provides uniformly first-class service in terms of strategy, research, investigations, responsiveness and creativity’ and is renowned for its ‘effective oral advocacy and courtroom work.’”


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.

© 2018 Kirkland & Ellis LLP