By Bill Donahue
Law360, New York (July 06, 2014, 9:41 PM ET) -- The most complex intellectual property litigation doesn't call for just any old law firm, and a new survey shows that corporate general counsel have a few favorites — a list topped by IP powerhouses Fish & Richardson PC and WilmerHale.
In preparing the new Intellectual Property Outlook report, BTI Consulting Group Inc. asked general counsel which law firm was “best-suited” to handle the rigors of the most complex IP cases. Respondents overwhelmingly named Fish & Richardson and WilmerHale, pushing those firms to the top tier; other standouts included Finnegan Henderson Farabow Garrett & Dunner, Morrison & Foerster LLP, Paul Hastings LLP, Ropes & Gray LLP and Seyfarth Shaw LLP.
All big-name IP firms have veteran attorneys, massive resources and years of know-how that they can call on for a client faced with complicated and overwhelming issues, so what's the “it" factor that made just two firms stand out in the minds of corporate general counsel.
According to BTI President Michael Rynowecer, it's the flexibility to deal with whatever comes up during complex litigation, no matter how hard.
“Some of these really complex IP cases can get very big very fast,” Rynowecer said. “If you're a firm that has the ability to quickly marshal highly experienced and informed resources whenever needed, that gives you an advantage, and that's what makes a firm really stand out.”
“Not too many firms can do that,” he said.
Fish was one of them, and litigation group chair Ann Cathcart Chaplin said that quickly being able to come up with novel solutions is the hallmark of a firm that can tackle complex litigation with the best of them.
“The combination of our large docket of cases, fluency in every technology area imaginable, and vast trial expertise means that we can quickly and efficiently develop winning strategies in complex IP cases,” Cathcart Chaplin said. “There are no litigation strategies or jurisdictions that we have not faced, so we develop creative approaches that other firms would never think of.”
Mark Selwyn, co-chair of the IP litigation practice at WilmerHale — the other top firm on BTI's list — gave the credit to his team.
“With a deep bench of first-chair litigators and technically trained lawyers in our offices on both coasts, and substantial experience managing IP litigation around the world, we can litigate and, when needed, take to trial and through appeal the most complicated patent disputes in any area of technology,” Selwyn said.
Other firms that were noted by general counsel as “leaders” in complex litigation included Baker Botts LLP, Ballard Spahr LLP, Faegre Baker Daniels LLP, Jones Day, McKool Smith PC, Merchant & Gould PC, Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP and Weil Gotshal & Manges LLP.
Methodology: BTI interviewed over 175 general counsel and “IP decision makers” at Fortune 1000 companies. The survey was conducted from Dec. 3, 2013, to June 10, 2014.
--Editing by Jeremy Barker.
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